The giant Cobb & Co. coach, complete with passengers, dominates the Museum of Interesting Things
The giant Cobb & Co. coach, complete with passengers, dominates the Museum of Interesting Things

Museum has plenty to Crowe about

ALTHOUGH you might not see it straight away, there’s a 65 million-year-old dinosaur skull at the Nymboida Coaching Station’s Museum of Interesting Things.

This is sure to fascinate palaeontologists and 12-year-old boys equally and while your average 16-year-old girl’s curiosity in prehistoric bones might not be so strong, all could change if someone tells her it was once owned by Leonardo Di Caprio, an avid collector of such relics. Then surely a second look would be in order, even if it was just to be near something ‘he’ has touched.

And so goes the theme of this diverse museum, the brainchild of one Russell Crowe, actor and Hollywood star, who is slowly transforming the Nymboida Coaching Station into a Clarence Valley tourism hot spot.

As the name implies, the museum showcases an eclectic selection of Hollywood and history, displays which are always changing, so even if you have ventured out there since it opened in late 2008, you are bound to find many more ‘interesting things’ on your second or third visit.

Coaching Station manager Paul Dawson said Russell is ‘a bit of a collector and this way he gets to share it’.

The latest arrivals are a selection of baggy green Test caps on loan from Russell’s private collection. He purchased them from his uncle, New Zealand cricketing great Martin Crowe, but they will be going back ‘home’ at the end of the month.

There are also plenty of other sports-related memorabilia on display like the life-sized bronze statue of Sir Donald Bradman and custom-made Rabbitohs Harley as featured on the TV show American Chopper. “Russell loves his cricket and sport,” says Paul.

Another newcomer to the collection is something for the Guitar Heros to drool over, a rare signed Les Paul, and motoring enthusiasts will be in garage heaven when they inspect the pristine vintage Jag racing car on loan by Grafton’s Tony Beadman. Quite a few locals contribute to the rotating displays which sit nicely alongside Russell’s ‘Hollywood’ exhibits.

Many of the outfits and props from his biggest movies are homed in the museum. Maximus Meridas is there as it the Master and Commander (underwear and all), Cinderella Man with original James Braddock items, and western gear from 3:10 to Yuma, along with bits and pieces from his Australian films like Romper Stomper and The Sum of Us. You can also see his mate Jack Thompson’s stockman’s outfit worn in The Man From Snowy River and pretty much all the costumes from Nick Cave’s brutal but award-winning The Proposition modelled by the ‘passengers’ inside the giant Cobb & Co coach, the museum’s most dominant display.

Paul said Russell keeps most of his costumes and some props from movies. “It’s usually in the contract. I know Denzel Washington can keep everything he touches.”

Paul said there are some more Hollywood items on their way including a chariot and a couple of stuffed horses from Gladiator and some gear from his latest movie Robin Hood (which opens in Australia in April) including castle moulds from the set. Paul also said Russell was planning to expand the museum which, given a Roman chariot is on its way, is probably a wise move.

Paul said Russell was away a lot last year working on films but he should have more time to spend in the area this year. “When he comes home (to Nana Glen) he usually visits here.”

* The Museum of Interesting Things is open Wednesday to Friday 11am-3pm, Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-3pm. Admission is $5 adult, $3 conc. $2.50 child or family 2A x 2C $12. Group bookings and tours by arrangement. Call the Nymboida Coaching Station for more details 6649 4126.

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