Keith Alcorn, of Evans Head, with his own four- and five-inch Steelite centre pin reels that he bought back in 1948. Part of his extensive collection was acquired from the former National Fishing Museum in Melbourne.
Keith Alcorn, of Evans Head, with his own four- and five-inch Steelite centre pin reels that he bought back in 1948. Part of his extensive collection was acquired from the former National Fishing Museum in Melbourne. Jerad Williams

Evans angler hooked on collecting

ONE of Australia’s largest collections of fishing paraphernalia can be found at Evans Head.

But only a small part of the collection is on display.

Life-long fisherman Keith Alcorn converted his double garage into a 13 metre by 12 metre museum to house just part of his huge collection.

Other items are being kept in storage at his home, which was specially rebuilt, while the remainder is stored in three sheds away from the home.

Mr Alcorn, 77, grew up in Lismore and has hung on to items either he or his father owned before deciding to become a serious collector 15 years ago.

“My father (Bill) never went anywhere without a 22-calibre rifle and a couple of fishing lines,” he said.

As a teenager, Mr Alcorn was apprenticed to his father in the refrigeration trade. He later worked on commercial fishing boats where some of his finds were made.

His favourite items are two Bakelite reels purchased in 1948 from Suffolk’s sports store in Lismore.

The oldest piece, he believes, is a small English trout reel that dates back to the 1890s.

Some of the most interesting pieces have been found at garage sales and weekend markets, while others have been purchased as complete collections.

And the thrill of the find is just as good as the thrill of the catch.

“It’s like scoring a hole-in-one in golf,” he said. “It’s really quite exhilarating.”

Mr Alcorn spends hours every day sorting, labelling and cataloguing items.

Although he stopped counting about 18 months ago, Mr Alcorn believes he has 6000 pieces in his collection.

Several glass bubbles came off a Japanese long-liner fishing boat that ran aground on a reef at Papua New Guinea in 1968. “It lobbed in Ballina at the old slipway to be converted into a trawler and the hull was full of these glass bubbles,” he said.


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