It was local hands that helped Neville and Debbie Purtills create a stunning home for their private motoring and memorabilia: The Depot, Deniliquin.
The two-storey 1950’s-inspired garage is Deniliquin’s latest tourist attraction.
“It houses a unique collection; we have a touch of Hollywood. Debbie is a mad Elvis fan,” explains Kacey Dighton, spokesperson for The Depot.
It was ample fodder for the local designer responsible for the merchandise, logo and collection panels, who happily threw challenges out to the local trades.
“There was a bit of ‘Oh, we can’t do that but we know someone who can.’ It was a massive benefit to have them [the tradies] on board.”
THE DEPOT’S COLLECTION
For guests, it’s a ‘journey through time’.
“Upstairs on the mezzanine floor, is a real snap-shot of domestic post-war life with 1940’s laundry, a 1950’s kitchen and a 1960’s living-room display.”
While downstairs, guests can browse elaborate panels that provide real context to Neville’s eclectic car, caravan and bus collection.
“Debbie and Neville did a lot of research. They visited a lot of museums, once they started building up the collection,” Kacey explains.
Neville, a bussing and transport industry magnate, always planned to share it.
He retained buses and quietly acquired the cars and caravans at auction, with many hidden under sheets in storage for years.
“Something like 95% of the vehicles actually run. … they just needed to be made show-worthy to make them presentable.”
The car collection comprises classics (20+ years-antique), vintage cars (1919-1930) and antique (45+ years-vintage). There’s a veteran (pre-1914) among them.
“We do have a vehicle from 1908. But there is not really one type of vehicle,” Kacey explains.
CLASSIC DENI EXPERIENCES
Not all of Neville’s vehicles are on display; some earn their keep in the couple’s hire vehicle venture. Many are available for special events but Kacey is negotiating with tourism vendors on special deals.
“We’re about 90 per cent there. That’s our next launch.
And the venue also has a function room—the Cadillac Room featuring state of the art audio visual—and a retail outlet, where punters can purchase a piece.
There’s no dining on-site, but fellow local ‘Turtle’ will be opening up a service station diner within the same new precinct just next door.