Inspiration for the Project

Long-time Parkerville resident Charles Lithgow was a school principal for over 40 years, but began his working life as a 14 year old in Sydney in the 1940’s repairing Singer Sewing Machines. His work involved stripping down machines, plunging them into caustic baths to remove everything but the cast iron form, cleaning and repairing all the moving parts, re-painting, polishing and decorating. He also learnt to strip the wooden cabinets, apply new veneers and French polish. At that time sewing machines were rare and people often had to wait for up to a year to get one. Since his retirement 25 years ago, the 87 year old has picked up his love of sewing machines and has an extraordinary collection of over 200 machines ranging from intricately decorated 1850’s models to the much more modern 1950’s.