The Teapot Extravaganza began as an idea seven years ago for a parish fundraiser and has turned into a major attraction during Carnival of Flowers week in Toowoomba in September.
As you entered the St Alban’s Church Hall, Newtown during the event the walls were decorated with colourful linen, multi-coloured quilts, aprons and tea towels. More than 500 teapots were on display from the finest bone china to decorative, novelty and antique teapots. More than 3000 items had been included in the exhibition that included dolls, tea cosies, silverware and a glassware display created during the Great Depression along with other assorted memorabilia. Homemakers and collectors alike have visited the hall with a great appreciation for the exhibition.
West Toowoomba Anglican Parish coordinator Geoffrey Lingard said that for the first few years most items on display belonged to the church parishioners and now more than 200 members of the local community loan items for the exhibition. The major success is brought about by the kind contributors who, year after year, participate in giving back to those in need. “Between 40 and 50 members of the parish volunteer their time to organise and catalogue the display. The support we receive from local businesses is overwhelming. It is so rewarding at the end of the fundraiser to be able to make donations from the event to a selection of local charities from the funds that have been raised,” Mr Lingard said.
This year, the Teapot Extravaganza included a special display on the British royal family with items featuring the Queen, Princess Diana, and Prince William and Kate. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made quite an interesting talking point.
Another display was held in honour of the Olympic Games in 2012. While both exhibitions were assembled from several sources, Kerrie Whitley contributed the bulk of royal memorabilia. Mrs Whitley said it was an opportunity to show her display to the public. She has been collecting since 1976. “My interest in royal memorabilia began with a book of black and white photographs on Edward VII. My parents, sister and aunt would buy gifts for me, then my husband and children continued and the collection has grown. My favourite royals include Queen Victoria, Henry VIII, Diana and Charles,” she said. One of the many items on display was a china milk jug produced in 1937 for the coronation of King George VI. Not an item that you can see just anywhere!
Next year, the event will be held during Carnival Week again. It is a must-see exhibition full of interesting collections. The fundraising event is a wonderful opportunity for charity contribution as well during a visit to St Alban’s. To keep updated on the next exhibition, ‘like’ Teapot Extravaganza on Facebook.
Words by Judi Haidley | Images by Fiona Stone