Collecting Crookwell and Goulburn bottles a passion for O'Rourke

Have you ever been rummaging around in a rubbish tip and found an old, dirty, odd-shaped bottle?

Well, this can be an everyday occurance for John O’Rourke of Goulburn, in search of old and rare bottles.

From the age of 10, he used to trail around behind his grandfather to local properties, in search of bottles of the district, including Crookwell and Goulburn.

Many bottles were thrown in dumps on properties and in wash-aways.

They were thrown down pit toilets and wells, and some properties even had designated ‘bottle dumps’.

Rare bottles from Crookwell include: Searls; Earle, W.M. Fogarty and A.J. Kerrigan, Chemist; Marks; Huxley and Rolf.

In and around Goulburn, there were: Evans (1850-60s); Nolan (1860-80s); and Sheekey (1870-1940).

Some local Goulburn chemists were: Hollis, Matthews, Bergmark and Hamilton. W. Steele bought out McAlisters in 1906/07, then traded until the 1960s.

Other old bottles include Sandos, Sullivan and Goulburn Cordials which then became Hopes.The Southeran Brothers bottles were dated from 1910-1940s.

Mr O’Rourke’s knowledge of these bottles is vast and comprehensive.

He has been approached to photograph and record information he knows about certain old bottles of the district.

He said he gains knowledge from speaking with other collectors and from the Australian Antique Bottle Forum.

Mr O’Rourke is always looking for bottles to complete his collection of local items. He is also happy to value bottles from the public.

He has travelled to Bathurst, Cessnock and Wagga Wagga, and attended bottle shows in Queensland and Victoria.

Collectors travel great distances for collections and frequently look at ‘buy, swap, sell’ sites on social media.

There are many swap meets that have rare and interesting bottles and a great place to start collecting would be at the annual Cowra Bottle and Collectables Show, scheduled for May.

This story He’s a bottler! first appeared on Crookwell Gazette.