QUALITY HOBBY: Tewantin collector and technician Toby Croce spends hours restoring old radios and TVs in his shed.
QUALITY HOBBY: Tewantin collector and technician Toby Croce spends hours restoring old radios and TVs in his shed. Geoff Potter

Toby tunes into retro

FOR a bloke who does not like watching television, Toby Croce has a peculiar choice of hobby.

Toby collects televisions but not the modern big screens coveted by most other 30-year-old men.

He likes old ones.

At one stage, he had close to 80 but, like most collectors, he has become more discerning. He now sticks with models between 1956 and 1958.

At last count (not counting "the ones at Mum and Dad's"), he had about 18.

The hobby started three years ago when the young television technician began to learn about the quality and workmanship of the old sets and discovered a black and white Healing for sale.

"I turned up to the guy's place. He had 14," Toby said.

"He collected black and white TVs and got them going. He was selling them because he wanted to restore a car and I bought the whole lot."

Toby's collection has expanded to include vintage radios from the 1920s and '30s through to the 1970s.

"When I was picking up TVs, people would say, 'I've got an old radio here'," he said.

Toby scours websites and trading magazines for new pieces for his collection.

His nights are spent working on restorations in a double-bay shed packed with chassis and spare parts, and definitely not watching TV.

"I can't think of anything worse than coming home and sitting down in front of Home and Away and suddenly it's 11.30pm - that isn't living," he said.

OLD times

  • Toby has built an AM modulator which allows him to play his CDs through his old radios.
  • Toby's favourite TV is a 1957 Astor Royal 23-inch set.
  • Toby's favourite radio is an Astor Harbour Bridge.


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