John Sbeghen has all kinds of taxidermy inside his Rosewood home. Photos: Rob Williams
John Sbeghen has all kinds of taxidermy inside his Rosewood home. Photos: Rob Williams

See A-Z of the animal kingdom inside Queensland home

JOHN Sbeghen reckons he's got the A-Z of the animal kingdom in his Rosewood home.

The 71-year-old retired housepainter has been collecting taxidermised animals since he was young, his grandfather had his own collection and encouraged his grandson's passion.

Mr Sbeghen said he's gone all over the world and to all sorts of auctions to pick up a new critter.

"All over the world going to auctions … I've been doing it all my life, my grandfather's to blame," he said.

"I've just been collecting them since then on, I had a wife, she said I wasn't allowed, then she died from cancer and I went from there."

Mr Sbeghen said he doesn't play favourites with the menagerie, which he sources mostly from deceased estate auctions in Australia.

He estimated he had at least "a couple of hundred" pieces and said the care varied from piece to piece.

 

 

"Ones with the finer fur are easier to look after, anything that's fluffy, moths get into them," Mr Sbeghen said.

"I let (bug) bombs off in here every so often."

A local retired taxidermist George Robinson helps Mr Sbeghen maintain his collection.

"My mate does all my work for me, I do go down and help him at times but I only do the sewing part, it's too much involved from me," Mr Sbeghen said.

From grand slams of quails - that's every native quail on continental America, to the weird and wonderful Marshal Dillo (exactly what it sounds like - a Marshal armadillo) to G.I. Joe Squirrel (again, self-explanatory) all the way down to a clan of meerkats and the bear from Dancing With Wolves, Mr Sbeghen has it all.

 

"Some people say (it's) the biggest one in Australia… but it didn't start off that way, put it that way," Mr Sbeghen said.

"Some I've imported from overseas, they've all been imported at some point."

"I'm toying with the idea, there's a real big old Queenslander going to come up for sale here in Rosewood, it's a big house.

 

"I've always been talking about turning 'em into a museum, so I built the big shed out the side but having my son here, he's now a mechanic, there's car parts everywhere."

But when it comes to the magic and the attraction of his collection, Mr Sbeghen can't explain what it is that inspires him to keep his collection growing.

"It just … I dunno … you get drawn to things, if there's one for sale, I'll go and grab it you know. It doesn't matter how far you have to go," he said.

The keen collector even goes as far as Melbourne on a quick jaunt to pick up a new piece.

"Sydney, Melbourne, that area, you can't wait to get there and you can't wait to get back home to put it up," Mr Sbeghen said.

"The kids always say to me, 'Where are you going to put it?' and I just tell them I'll find room."


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