- His love of the sea never deserted Gordon and his passion then focused on building model ships of bygone eras.
Gordon Bray grew up surrounded by artists and seafarers and it is little wonder that he chose the life of a sailor once he was old enough to do so. Spending his youth at St Ives in Cornwall, at 15 he joined the merchant navy and reached the rank of first mate before leaving in 1934 to marry his beloved Marjorie. However, his love of the sea never deserted Gordon and his passion then focused on building model ships of bygone eras.
Born in 1912, Gordon migrated with his family to Australia in 1956 and settled on the Mornington Peninsula. Although he worked hard as a commercial artist, his model shipbuilding continued unabated. The crowning glory came in 1980 when Gordon launched Kismet, a 15-metre galleon replica, from the Mornington Yacht Club. Unfortunately, the hull was damaged during transportation and, not long after, the ship had to be taken from the water for repairs. A combination of ill health and lack of funds meant Kismet was never relaunched and, along with several of his models, now resides at Kryall Castle near Ballarat.
Gordon died in 1995 and his wife in September last year and the family is now auctioning several of his more treasured models that he kept at home from 11am tomorrow at 1085 Malvern Road, Toorak through Phillip Caldwell Auctioneers. For the past 25 years, the property has belonged to a leading Melbourne chiropractor who is now downsizing. The home has the traditional old Toorak feel, complete with ornate mahogany furnishings, colonial art and chandeliers, all of which are to be sold at tomorrow’s auction. Of particular note is the Victorian flame mahogany four-door sideboard and burr walnut tilt-top wine table.
Paintings include an 1860s Conrad Martens and a John Waltham Curtis that formerly resided in the Art Gallery of NSW. Eighty clocks (many unrestored) from the 18th and 19th centuries should have clock collectors rubbing their hands with glee. The collection covers all types from grandfather to miniature and carriage clocks. Featured is a Boulle 19th century bracket clock and pull repeat Regency mantel clocks that illuminate the hour hand when the chord is pulled. The auction also features a collection of cameo glass and an unusual bronze by Christofel of sheep being shorn. Royal Worcester includes a Frank Roberts vase, and works by Charles Baldwyn, John Stinton and William Powell. For car enthusiasts, there is a fully restored 1937 Ford Prefect tourer convertible – one of only 22 left in the world. Viewing Friday and Saturday from 10am-6pm and Sunday from 9.30am-11am.