Sunday, 24 July 2011

Three cheers for the old mole

I was sad to hear that the guru of garden tools Richard Bird has decided to shut up shop. Richard is known to many as The Old Mole and was a regular stall holder at garden themed festivals and conferences in south-east Australia over the last decade or so.

Richard Bird (centre) talking tools with a customer 
I first met Richard at a garden fair in the late 1990s where he was selling his antique and reproduction tools and garden equipment as well as displaying his wonderful collection of garden paraphernalia. Over the years we became friends and we often discussed and traded old tools. Inspired by his passion for the subject I organised a couple of antique tool shows in Sydney which helped gain further interest in the subject. At both these events Richard and his trademark green Morris Minor van were present and he gave several talks on the history of tools and his collection.

The Old Mole display at an Australian plant fair
After many years Richard (never Dicky) has decided to retire from active trading. Rather than flogging his collection to the highest bidder he has decided to donate a significant part of it to a soon to be established garden history museum at Carrick Hill in South Australia. Hopefully this bequest will inspire others to do the same.

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