ALLEN Callaghan was a paper boy when he first saw a souvenir tea cup set on display at Coolangatta's Robinson's newsagency, where he worked.
Another 30 years later he took note of a similar Coolanagatta travel trinket while browsing a second hand shop in Adelaide, visiting the city in his capacity as press secretary for then Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke Petersen.
The melancholy moment sparked a curiosity, which led to a collection of 500 pieces of souvenir ware history to be put on display at the Tweed Regional Museum next week for the new Wish you were here: tokens of travel exhibition, spanning a collection from the early 1900s to the present.
For Mr Callaghan, the exhibit is special because the former reporter completed a four year cadetship at the Tweed Daily News, before postings at the Brisbane Telegraph, Canberra Times and ABC.
"It brought back my memories of Robinson's newsagency and its windows filled with souvenirs,” Mr Callaghan said.
"I met many families from Brisbane who had permanent sites for their tents and caravans.
"Their arrival every Easter, school holidays and Christmas was another facet of the tourist industry repeated all over Australia.”
Mr Callaghan's collection features souvenirs of the Tweed River, the main street of Tweed Heads, and the Razorback look-out at Tweed Heads, where a cafe used to look over the ranges.
"The wide range of products is an invaluable way of illustrating history over a time period that contains some of Australia's greatest economic, social and political changes,” he said.
Wish you were here, which includes a strong focus on holidays at the beach as well as in the Tweed hinterland, will open at the Tweed Regional Museum on December 6 and go through until May next year.