Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council mayor purchases historical bookcase

The bookcase Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council mayor Allan Aughey purchased and has donated to the community.

The bookcase Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council mayor Allan Aughey purchased and has donated to the community.

A significant piece of South Australia and the nation’s history is about to make its way to the Clare Library. 

The piece, a bookcase dating back to between 1839 and 1845, was purchased by Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council mayor Allan Aughey. 

He has donated it to the community and it is expected to be in the library from December 15. 

Mr Aughey personally purchased the bookcase at an auction hosted by Scammell’s for $58,250 and decided to donate it back to the community. He said it was a spectacular piece.

“It is going to be one of the most significant pieces in SA colonial art history,” Mr Aughey said.  

“It’s a big deal.

“It’s a significantly important piece of early colonial furniture.” 

Mr Aughey said the piece was rare and it was the only type that’s known of. 

The bookcase was handmade, carved and created – it is a timeless, river red gum piece. 

Mr Aughey said many people had come forward, since the auction, to offer their knowledge about it and to help find out more. 

“There’s a lot about it that is being discovered. All these things are coming out of the woodwork.” 

“It’s a masterpiece of early South Australian cabinet making skills. An expert has said it is the second most important piece of colonial furniture.” 

Although its first home from the auction is destined for the library, Mr Aughey said it would inevitably make its way to the planned Clare Arthouse. “It is just a stunning piece. It would be a wonderful piece for the art gallery.”