Museum contents auction for iconic tourism identity

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 30th April, 2014

Never one to pass up a business opportunity, at age 60 the late Nancy Leeson decided to turn the family property, known as “The Poplars” in Bolwarra, into a successful tourism venture.

Born in 1911, she left Portland aged nine only to return in 1953 when her father retired and bought The Poplars that her uncle Charles Keiller and his family had lived in several years earlier.

Working the property as an orchardist, Nancy helped care for her disabled sister and ailing mother.

Following the deaths of her parents, she sold the cool store equipment pulled out the apple trees and began her venture into tourism.

First she set up the cool store (which had been the Old Caledonian Inn) as an historical museum and turned the packing shed into an antiques/bric-a-brac shop.

Nancy ran the shop for 25 years, and was a member of the National Trust, before retiring at age 85 and closing the business.

She then continued her interests and research efforts until her death last year, aged 102, by then having lived at The Poplars for 60 years.

Glenelg Auctions is auctioning the contents of the home and museum from 11am on Saturday May 3 and Sunday May 4 at 109 Learmonth Street, Portland.

Featured is porcelain including Sevres, Dr Wall Worcester, Chelsea, Caughley, Dresden, Limoges and Belleek, and glass and furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries.

From the museum are early collections of badges, medals, buttons, seals, chemist and medicinal items, posters and fishing and ship paraphernalia.

There also is an early officers Davenport desk with fitted hand basin drawer, early colonial newsprint and a horse and carriage.

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