Join Aussie Pickers Lucas Callaghan and Adam McDonald as they travel around Australia looking through attics, backyards and sheds in the search for forgotten relics. During their search for treasures Lucas and Adam meet some of Australia‟s most iconic characters with more than a good yarn to tell.
Picking their way through Toowoomba in Queensland, Wagga Wagga in The Riverina through to Victoria and Tasmania, what the boys find may set you on your own treasure hunt. Aussie Pickers takes us to far-flung areas of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. And in a Picking first, the boys take a trip across the Tasman for a pick through some of the most picturesque regions of New Zealand, where they meet an even more dedicated breed of collector. Once the Picking is done, their haul is shipped back to Pickers HQ, where it is sold in a public auction, presided over by auctioneer Cecily Hardy.
Originally a Bricklayer and hip hop MC, one rainy day Adam McDonald helped a mate working at an Auction house and he’s never looked back. After 10 years working as an auctioneer at Lawsons Auction house in Annandale, selling 250 items a week, there is nothing he hasn’t sold.
Adam’s most profitable pick was a $3 AUD bus conductor’s ticket book he sold on for $2,750 AUD. With his diverse knowledge of collectables and passion for ‘Industrial Antiques’ (or ‘Mantiques’ as he likes to call them), Adam is the perfect picking partner for Lucas.
Resident auctioneer Cecily Hardy is the mate that hooked Adam into picking that fateful day long ago at the Auction house. Hailing from a family of auctioneers and collectors and growing up surrounded by antiques and collectables, Cecily has worked in and around auctions since she was 5 years.
By the age of 21 Cecily had become the youngest female furniture auctioneer in Sydney. Auctioneering and collecting are in her blood and she is the perfect person to complement Lucas and Adam.
Born into the industry, Lucas Callaghan is one of country’s most prolific Pickers. Specialising in “unique objects from the postwar period” Lucas finds then restores items to their former glory to sell for profit. Renowned auctioneer Andrew Shapiro describes Lucas’ collection as “one of the more eccentric design collections he’s seen, spanning four or five decades.”
A Picker for 25 years, Lucas’ once picked a first-edition collection of Cat in the Hat books and sold them for $18,000 AUD at auction.
Recently finding more permanent storage for his treasures, Lucas has opened up Modern2Vintage in Paddington, Sydney, and is on the hunt for even more stock to add to his picks.
Pick one is a visit to Jim Crocker, a collector and junk yard owner who specialises in Furphy Water Carts which were used in the days before irrigation to transport water around farms. Pick two begins with a visit to the Magpie's Nest Restaurant in Wagga Wagga where they meet Chris Whyte. Chris shows the Pickers around his house and restaurant, where they are very impressed by the beautifully restored furniture and collectibles on display, but they start to worry that everything is to nice and there will be nothing to pick. For pick three, the Whyte Brothers' Junkyard turns out to be a treasure trove and the Pickers pick up plenty of bargains. And finally, at an old family farm in the Riverina, the Pickers find an abandoned farm house, that has been empty since 1981, when the owner died. They meet Joan, who now runs the farm. Joan gives them permission to pick through the old homestead, which is still full of furniture, books, kitchen stuff and even clothes.
Lucas's day starts well when he spies a pair of unusual bar stools in the kitchen of the motel where they spent the night. He does a deal with the owner, and packs the stools into the truck. Then the Pickers head up the Murray River in Victoria to meet Mingo, a collector who specialises in FJ Holdens and vintage Indian and Harley Davidson motorcycles. The Pickers pass through town and stop off at Pickers HQ to meet a local Indian expert and to hear his appraisal of the Bike Lucas bought at Mingo's. Back on the road, they meet John, a former antique dealer in poor health. Lucas buys a tray of cutlery (silverware) for $10, but he's fairly sure there are some valuable pieces in there and he's going to get a silver expert to value them. Pick three is s visit to a massive storage shed owned by Brian Toole. He stocks huge amounts of military material, along with a number of collectibles.
First stop is the gigantic Toowoomba Swap Meet, an annual 3-day event attracting thousands of collectors from across Australia. At the Swap Meet, they meet James, the self-proclaimed custodian of old bicycles. James has had his house raised ten feet to create a huge workshop area underneath, which is full of bikes and bike parts. In the house itself, there are bikes everywhere. Next stop is Eddie and Thelma, an elderly couple who keep a huge collection of Australiana and machinery on a property outside town. Eddie's pride and joy is a 1923 Fiat racing car, which he says is worth $1 million. Eddie never sells anything to anyone, but our Pickers manage to charm him into parting with some wonderful pieces. Then it's off to the Northern New South Wales town of Kyogle, to meet Stewart, who runs a movie museum in the town's cinema. Stewart takes them to see his shed outside town, where he keeps a huge amount of old and rare projection equipment, as well as old cars and other collectibles.
The Pickers are sent to backwoods country, deep in the hills of Northern New South Wales. They are looking for a guy who calls himself Mad Dog, and they approach the assignment with trepidation. Next stop is Warwick and Gwenda, who have been collecting together since their honeymoon 49 years ago. These people collect literally everything and anything. They have an extensive collection of Australian phone books. They have beer cans from every beer producing country in the world. Then, in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains, they visit passionate car collector Mick Ambrose, who has car bodies and parts strewn across 25 acres outside town. The Pickers buy some car pieces from Mick, then go next door to meet Mick's neighbour, Kim, who also keeps a junkyard. Kim likes to preserve old car bodies and other pieces because he doesn't want to see them "melted down and turned into Hyundais".
In Wagga, the Pickers meet Brian, the Collector's Collector. Brian's collection of Aussie memorabilia has been voted the best in Australia. The Pickers visit a junk yard on the outskirts of Sydney. Owners Sue and Gary collect anything and everything from garage sales, demolition sites and tips. The Pickers buy quite a bit along the way, before being taken into Gary and Sue's backyard to see their private collection. This is mind-boggling, including a secure vault filled with vintage petrol pumps and other assorted Garagenalia material valued at several million dollars. Finally, in the Hunter Valley of NSW, the Pickers come across Marilyn and Paul, who used to run a small country museum which they closed several months ago and are now trying to sell some stock and Lucas and Adam are only too happy to help them out.
Lucas and Adam take on Tasmania. In the north of the island, they meet Ian, a true Tassie character who refers to himself as a Bower Bird. Ian has an extensive collection just waiting to be picked. Ian sends the Pickers to meet his mate Steve, a self confessed treasure hunter who describes his collection as "organised chaos", strewn around sheds and paddocks across his property. Next stop is train fanatic Harold, who is creating his own railway world in a remote part of Northern Tasmania. Harold's love of trains extends to dressing as a railway conductor and building his own train station on the property. From here, they go on to meet Tassie couple George and Michelle. George is a hoarder, who wants to keep everything so he can fix it up and pass it on to his kids. Michelle is desperate to see some sold so she can have a little more room to move.
In country Victoria, the guys meet local auctioneer Bruce, who is known to the locals as Steptoe. It's the Battle of the Auctioneers when Bruce goes head to head with Adam and some lively haggling ensues. Then it's off to visit old rockers Rod and Pam, whose back shed has been transformed into a 1950s American diner, complete with juke box. Rod collects rock and roll memorabilia and also has an extensive collection of vintage juke boxes for sale. Next stop is Paul and his dad Bernie. Paul's backyard is littered with old car bodies, including some rare and precious 1930s models. He also has several sheds filled. Finally, the guys visit the man cave of Ian, a garage-sale nut who bought a suburban warehouse and yard just to hold his collection of cars and memorabilia. Here, Adam finally finds the piece he has been searching for since he began picking, but what is it?
On the outskirts of Melbourne Lucas and Adam meet Sandy and Brian, a happy collecting couple who spend all their spare time picking through the bargains at their local opp-shops. In a house and garden filled with amazing items, the Pickers' budget takes a beating, but they come away with quite a haul. In outer Melbourne Lucas and Adam come across a truly incredible military collection when they call on John and his son Bill. John has sheds filled with Militaria and yards full of old military vehicles, including a collection of tanks and armoured personnel carriers. As an acknowledged furniture expert, it's always been just a matter of time before Picker Lucas comes across a pick filled with quality furniture. Today, at the home of Precis(who scours newspaper ads for deceased estate sales), Lucas enters the holy grail of furniture, but will he find the Featherstone chair he's been dreaming of?