Born, raised and educated in Pontiac, Illinois, early in World War II Pete was shipped to Australia and joined the new 1st Air Depot Group in Brisbane.
At the same time he met local girl Melda and they later married. After a highly decorated war career, Pete retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and developed a successful property business throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Substantially amassed by Melda, their collection is a reflection of their growing prosperity and developing tastes in the post-war period – sustained throughout 66 years of married life.
Early in their marriage, Pete and Melda built the family home at 68 Molonga Terrace, Graceville and the original weatherboard house was extended over time in different directions to house the expanding collection.
Son Andrew recalls his mother’s love of antiques and interior design and fortunately his father was happy to financially support those interests.
Melda’s passion for period furniture and fine art, combined with her innate interior design talent, led to a treasure trove that covers all aspects of lavish 19th century lifestyle.
The collection comprises an amazing selection of European antiques and silver, Australian and European paintings, oriental works of art from China and Japan and sculptures from Italy and France.
Additional highlights include a magnificent gilt bronze clock garniture and the Marshall John Claxton painting of Ruth and Naomi from the famous 1989 Brisbane Leon and Lady Trout auction.
Other paintings of note include Margaret Olley’s Still Life – Wallflower and Lemons circa 1980s.
The auction also contains a large 19th century French gilt bronze and Sevres style panel mounted mantel clock.
Among the substantial sterling silver items are a large circa 1900 Austrian tea and coffee service and a George IV oblong soup tureen.
Unusual is the Victorian cased sterling silver floral embossed shoe by George Nathan & Ridley Hayes from Birmingham 1894.
Further auction attractions include a large collection of Victorian and later period coloured glassware, 19th century Royal Worcester porcelain figures and a signed French bronze bust of a boy in a top hat by Jean Antoine Houdon (1741-1828).
Auction goers also will be impressed by a pair of 19th century French bronze and gilt bronze figural candelabra, an ebonised Steinway & Sons concert piano and a 19th century Louis XV-style gilt bronze birdcage.