Marble marvel

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The story of a sewing machine repairman from Kingswood winning the Australian Marbles Championship title would be unique enough.

But when you delve into 61-year-old Terry Rastall’s story in relation to how he got to that moment, it becomes an even more remarkable tale with some four decades of history attached.

It all began a few weeks ago when Mr Rastall received a call from a close friend who works at a fabric store in Leichhardt.

“A customer went into the store to pick up some fabric and started talking to my friend who works there,” Mr Rastall told the Weekender.

“The customer needed her sewing machine fixed, so my friend recommended that I fix it.”

When Mr Rastall heard the address of the customer who needed her sewing machine repaired, it sounded very familiar to him but he wasn’t sure why.

“I talked to my wife and told her the address I had to go to in Haberfield, and my wife said that was my old place where I grew up,” he said.

“I hadn’t lived at that house since 1975 when I was 24. So I phoned up the lady and said ‘have you got a frangipani tree out the front of your house and a cumquat tree down the back?’ She replied ‘yes’, and I said ‘that’s my old bloody house, I’ll be picking that sewing machine up no problems at all’.”

With memories flooding back, Mr Rastall remembered his glorious marble collection as a kid and the horrifying day he loaned all 500 of them to his younger brother to take to school and play with.

One day back in 1973, a then 21-year-old Mr Rastall discovered that his brother lost nearly half of his marble collection at school, but it didn’t end there, as he explained to the woman on the phone.

“For some reason I said to the lady: ‘you know what’s always bugged me all these years? My bloody brother, in a fit of rage, threw my remaining marbles, all 342 of them, down the backyard’,” he said.

“I’d worked for years building up that collection but when he threw them away I never got around to retrieving them.”

But what Mr Rastall heard next is what makes this story one in a million.

“The lady said to me: ‘I collected those marbles, washed them, put them in a jar and have had them ever since… I thought I might find the owner one day’,” Mr Rastall said.

Shocked and in disbelief, the humble local sewing machine repairer told the lady he was the owner of those marbles and was going back to the home he used to live in 40 years ago to pick them up.

“The lady put the broken sewing machine out on the veranda along with this big bag of marbles,” Mr Rastall said.

“So naturally I fixed her sewing machine for nothing. I thought that’s a fair swap to me, I’m really happy.”
But this remarkable tale doesn’t end there. What does someone do when he gets his marbles back after 40 years?

He enters the Australian Marbles Championships of course!

“My friend informed me about the Marble Championships happening in Brunswick Heads on the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend, so I told my wife to pack her bags, we’re going on a road trip up the coast for a week,” Mr Rastall said.

“So my wife and I went up there and I ended up winning the whole thing – beating the four-time champion in the process.”
Mr Rastall said if he would’ve heard his own story from someone else, those incredible chain of events, he wouldn’t have believed it.

But at the end of the day two things are certain – Mr Rastall will be back to defend his title next year and he’ll never lend his brother his marbles again.

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