Ray Evans looks through a porthole from his vast collection.
Ray Evans looks through a porthole from his vast collection. John Gass

Shipload of relics at Chinderah

LANDLUBBERS and seafarers alike can gain an education while being gobsmacked by the incredible collection of maritime artefacts that collector Ray Evans has procured over the past 29 years.

Everything maritime from Portuguese ship cannons from the 1600s through to Aboriginal dugong-hunting spears has made his collection unique and fascinating on every level.

With 90% of his collection coming from local sources, Mr Evans' tales of obtaining his relics stun even the most knowledgable maritime buff, for who would believe that Portuguese and Dutch articles could simply wash up on the Australian shore?

"Much of my collection has been sourced from Chinderah," he told My Daily News.

"You would be amazed at what people have collected and just how much maritime history there is in Chinderah.

"It was the busiest port on the Tweed River for many years."

Mr Evans' antique store and "Museum of the Sea" reflects a passion in the man that drives him to seek and discover a new relic every day.

"If I don't get at least one thing each day, I actually start shaking," he said with a laugh.

It takes that kind of dedication and fascination to create what he describes as a collection that is "not like a normal museum".

"Every day is different with something new, or should I say 'old' to discover," he said.

"I love to see the look of awe in kids' eyes when they come in here."

Viewing Mr Evans' world is like looking through a porthole into maritime history - at once romantic, yet exciting and informative.

You won't leave without learning a great deal from the collection he says "evolved," rather than being deliberately created.

"Everything tells a story," he said.

Pewter drinking vessels of all sizes dating back to the early 1700's, clay whisky jugs from Dutch ships through to a crocodile skull, jaw of a sperm whale and delicately carved scrimshaw, items believed to have belonged to Captain Bligh and ornate, ancient ship trunks are but a few of the truly fascinating "one-offs" Mr Evans has acquired in his quest.



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