Issue 8 T.O.C. – “The Legend of the Jimmy Possum Chair” – Mike Epworth

This is part of a blog series revealing the table of contents of upcoming Issue Eight. As is our custom, we’ll be discussing one article per weekday in order to give you a taste of what is come. 

Please note that the subscription window which includes Issue Eight is open now through March 25th.




The Legend of the Jimmy Possum Chair – Mike Epworth

Over a century ago in rural Tasmania, there appeared a new design of vernacular chair. Seeming at first glance to draw from Irish or Windsor traditions, the chair utilized a novel construction in which the legs and outer back spindles ran continuously through the seat and arms, a configuration that tightened and strengthened every joint when sat upon.


But who made these chairs? Tales told of a man who lived outside town in a hollow tree, building chairs with simple tools and selling or trading them to area farmers and inns, but today there survive no concrete records of this man’s existence. He was known as Jimmy Possum.

In his article for Issue Eight, Dr. Mike Epworth delves into this mystery, exploring many fascinating leads in the Jimmy Possum tradition. From design clues, local history, and legends passed down through families and tied to individual chairs, Epworth pieces together a compelling story. Was Jimmy Possum a First Nations man? Was he an immigrant, or an ex-convict? Or did he even exist at all?


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