David’s camp oven collection
I have known David for a long time online and he’s always posting a photo of something he just bought to add to his forever collection, and you guessed it’s mainly a camp oven related but sometimes he surprises us and buys something that’s not. Combined with my curiosity as to what David has actually got stored away in his shipping container, I asked if I could come out and take a look and write this article about him and his collection.
I set off on this journey alone, and I knew when the boys got to read this article they would be envious that I got to check it out. After a 3 hour drive I finally arrived at David’s place in Kingsthorpe. David, bisexcited to show me around, gave me a quick tour of his collection before we went for a drive to GreenAg Turkeys to purchase the meat to make their tasty Slow-Cooked Cranberry Turkey for our lunch. Thankfully the GreenAg farm is just located just down the road from David. They produce excellent quality gourmet organic free-range turkey meat direct from their paddock to your plate. For my full story on GreenAg turkey check out www.castironboys.com
Once we got back home, we put lunch on in one of his favourite potjies (Recipe Here). I then started digging through his collection and setting some pieces out for a photo in his backyard. I was starting to wish I did bring the boys as it was a big job as there was a lot to take out! David tells me the camp ovens became a problem at home, taking up a spare bedroom, which was Beryl’s sewing room. When she could not get to her sewing machine because of the ovens Beryl announced one day that a shipping container was arriving for the camp ovens! David later discovered the South African potjie pot (pronounced poikie pot) and found they were particularly good for cooking wet dishes such as a stew or curry.
When David wasliving in Griffith NSW in 2012 where Beryl was working as a nurse in aged care, he entered the Leeton Show camp oven cooking competition – and came home with the the Camp Oven Champion sash, apron and a $100 prize! He said he only entered for fun! He cooked pea and ham soup in a potjie pot and a damper in a camp oven. The judges were two chefs from Sun Rice in Leeton.
Watching David’s expression after I had finished dragging his collection out on to the grass was priceless, I don’t think he realised how many he actually had! The shipping container is now full again and while he’s licking up the attention, David says he will give guided tours by appointment and a mate says he should charge a $5 entry fee!
Q&A With David!
Where are you from?
I was born in Cheshire, England in 1944 and migrated to Toowoomba, Queensland in 1981.
What did you do for work?
In 1994 I attend Toowoomba TAFE and completed two year Diploma of Hospitality Management course, my main interest was in the kitchen. After graduating I worked as a chef in two local Army bases, three Toowoomba boarding schools and two drilling camps.
What got you started in camp oven cooking?
My interest in camp oven cooking came from Beryl, my wife of 21 years. Her father was an axeman working in the forests around Kilkivan, the logs were hauled out with horses to her grandfather with his bullock team and taken to the mills at Gympie and Maryborough. The family lived in a tent in the scrub and I once asked Beryl how her mother cooked – with camp ovens was the reply. Unfortunately the camp ovens were long gone.
What was the first ever camp oven you bought?
I bought a 10″ and 14″ Furphy from a camping shop.
What was the first ever book you bought?
I bought the classic book Outback Cooking in the Camp Oven by Jack & Reg Absalom.
What brands of camp ovens do you own?
I have acquired several Australian made camp ovens over the years which includes – Harding, UMI, Albion and Metters, ovens imported from the USA. I also own a complete set of Lodge camp ovens and several American Camp Chef camp ovens.
What is your most favourite camp oven?
I have two. A Falkirk size 3 Potjie because it is great to cook in, it won me the Leeton Show Camp Oven Cooking Championship in 2012, and my Harding and Sons 17″ because it is new straight from the Fettlers shop, it has never been used or seasoned.
Thank you David!
On the behalf of myself and others, I would like to thank you for the great opportunity to visit your place and see such a great and vast collection of camp ovens, dutch ovens and potjies. Thank you!