Faces of Tamworth: man behind the region’s best-kept collection, the late Allan Wright

IN September last year, the region’s largest collection of rare engines, model trains, books and antiques were on show at a Loomberah clearing sale.

But it was the story behind the collection – about a much-loved family man and engineer, who devoted his life to building and restoring machines – that captured the hearts of Tamworth.

We thought we’d re-share Allan Wright’s story as today’s Face of Tamworth, as he leaves behind a lasting legacy to the region.

Allan Wright tinkers in the shed.

Allan Wright tinkers in the shed.

“IF he didn’t have it, he’d make it.”

The family of the man behind one of the region’s largest clearing sales has opened up about his pride and passion for machines, engines, tinkering and fixing.

Allan Wright, a much-loved family man, was an engineer who devoted his life to building and restoring machines, and adding to his prized collections, before he passed away at the age of 87.

His incredible collection – from rare engines to model trains, books to antiques – made up more than 1000 lots on offer at the estate clearing sale on the family’s Loomberah property.

Mr Wright and wife Caroline lived in Sydney for much of their life, but frequented the region to visit his best mate, who owned a property in Gunnedah.

“We came here during school holidays,” Mr Wright’s youngest son, Warwick, said.

“That’s when dad fell in love with the area.”

When Mrs Wright was offered the role of general manager at the Powerhouse in Tamworth when it first opened, the couple moved to Loomberah in 1985. 

They named their property, “Terryvale”, in honour of their son Terry, who had passed away in an accident in 1984.

Mr Wright, a plant engineer, began restoring engines when he was still living in Sydney.

“Moving gave (Dad) the opportunity to do it all bigger and better,” Warwick said.

“Our garage at home was not your normal garage.

“It didn’t fit any cars. It was absolutely loaded. Not just on the sides, but up and down the middle. He literally never threw anything out.”

Mr Wright had a longstanding interest in trains, even attending TAFE to get his boilermakers licence renewed just so he could operate them.

“When our kids were born, it was a good excuse for him to build a railway, having loved miniature railways all his life and built a mean example of one when I was a child,” Warwick said.

“As he got older and got more space, his idea of a ‘train set’ just went on steroids.”

Four-hundred bidders registered for the sale.

Four-hundred bidders registered for the sale.

Mr Wright used every hour of daylight  – with the exception of an afternoon snooze, known as a “bongo” – to build, tinker and restore.

“He was always building things with his own hands,” Warwick said.

“Dad would be very proud of the legacy he leaves behind in terms of machinery, and his reputation as a man who got things done.

“If you needed anything, he’d have it. If he didn’t have it, he’d make it.”

Mr Wright was the much-loved husband of Caroline, father of Greg, Jennifer, Terry and Warwick, and grandfather of 10. 

Loomberah clearing sales ‘one of the biggest’ in region: agent

FOUR-hundred bidders from across the country converged on Loomberah last Saturday for the estate sale of much-loved engineer Allan Wright. 

Lifetime collections of machinery, engines, antiques, books, trains and more amounted to more than 1000 lots being on offer to the huge crowd that rolled out to the family’s “Terryvale” property.

Davidson Cameron & Co agent Daniel McCulloch said the emotional clearing sale was one like he’d never seen before due to the sheer volume of lots on offer and interested parties.

Among the top-sold items were a T Model Ford that sold for $25,000 and an A Model that went for $17,000.

“Everything was sold. The vendors were very happy,” Mr McCulloch said.

“It’s probably not the biggest in terms of dollar value, but the number of items ... was definitely the biggest the region has seen.”

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