You know you have found something out of the ordinary as soon as you approach the gate. And if you are lucky enough to be invited down to see "Beef" Buffett's private museum, you are in for a treat.
Bernie and I headed down to New Cascade Road on Sunday afternoon, after Beef had rung to ask us to come and see his display that he has been putting together for many years.
It was wonderful! In a lovely, specially designed and temperature controlled building built specially for his display, Beef has arranged an eclectic collection of treasures and memorabilia, from both Norfolk Island and other Pacific islands. Some of the items are things he has picked up while working in New Guinea and other places, some of it has been handed down through his family, some of it he has obtained by being in the right place at the right time (and not taking no for an answer), and some has been given or lent by folk who are glad to see their treasures properly valued and displayed.
Now look at this incredible tangled mass of roots from an old Camphor Laurel tree that was cut down near the Mission Chapel. Who would have thought of moving it, varnishing it and even using it as a background to display other items?
There are clocks and crocks, stuffed wildlife, valuable old books, old tools, a lovely old Bebarfald's sewing machine with leadlight doors in the cabinet, whalebone milking stools, old lamps, spears and masks and other cultural artefacts from the Pacific islands, wonderful old photographs and paintings. There is also a wonderful display of some of Beef's own woodturning, and he is a master craftsman in that area.
Now just outside the display room is an outside loo, fit for a Queen...I kid you not! Lined with polished timber, a timber seat, pictures on the walls, and everything sparkling!
In the workshop next door, there is lots more...all sorts of household, agricultural and carpenter's tools, implements and paraphernalia, most of it just waiting for a good clean up so it can be added to the display.
Then there are the grounds, a testimony to many years of hard work, with the beautiful tropical foliage and colourful displays. Anyone driving past this area of the island cannot fail to see how just one person has enhanced a whole area with his own personal beautification programme!
I suspect that in days to come, it will not be the official museums and archives which provide valuable information about how we lived in the past. The real historians are people like Beef, who have an eye for the quirky and the unusual, but who are perceptive enough to preserve those very ordinary things which we take for granted, until we suddenly realise they are not around any more!!
We should really value our eccentrics and our folk who are passionate about the past and exotic times and places, because the time, money and resources they put into their passion is enriching not only our lives, but those of future generations.