A day of firsts at Glengallan
AT 90 YEARS of age, Meringandan resident Noel Luck had never in his life ridden a wooden rocking horse - but today, at Glengallan Christmas markets, that all changed.
The sprightly fellow jumped at the chance to jump aboard one of Jim Marshall's hand-crafted horses and walked away chuffed with the experience.
Mr Marshall from Toowoomba has been making rocking horses for 28 years and in that time he's made 185 of them.
"Wooden rocking horses were very popular right up until 1972 when a company began making plastic ones,” Mr Marshall said.
"The wooden horse makers couldn't compete and started to disappear.”
Mr Marshall said the horses took between 90 and 250 hours to complete.
"Some sell for up to $10,000,” he said.
"They are a lot more life-like and feature many imported and speciality materials.
"They look more like a horse should, and sell to horse enthusiasts and owners.”
Mr Marshall said he'd been working with wood for 58 years.
"I'm not sure what a pen and paper are for but I'm good with my hands and I've got a keen eye,” he said.
"I've made everything from model planes to houses, but started making horses because they were a greater challenge.”
Of the 185 rocking horses Mr Marshall has made over the years, only the one hasn't been sold - the one on display in his market stall.
"Maybe Santa will come for it,” he said.
Wife Vicki was at the markets as well, behind the counter in her own stall.
"I used to have partnership in a business in Toowoomba called All Things Local,” Mrs Marshall said.
"We sold craft items that we and others had made.
"But when the store closed I wondered what I was going to do, so I kept making craft and coming to markets.
"Jim was going everywhere with his rocking horses, so I tagged along.”
With a range of cards, gifts and books for sale, Mrs Marshall said she loved coming to Glengallan.
"We've been coming for about 10 years,” she said.
"There's always a great atmosphere here and it's a beautiful setting.”
Market co-ordinator Terry Weier said he was glad the overnight rain hadn't dampened proceedings.
"It's a beautiful day and we've people coming in all day,” he said.
"We've got some great stalls and some very talented artisans and they all enjoying coming whether they have a successful day or not.
"It's a good place to come and relax.”