Buring Pipe Collection

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Date range: 
19th century to 1980
Places: 
Australia,
South Australia,
Rundle St,
Hahndorf
Description: 

The Buring pipe collection consists of approximately 200 pieces dating from the 1850s to 1980. It includes a wide variety of pipes and smoking related items, ranging from the small and simple to the large and very ornate. 

The materials from which they are made include white clay, meerschaum clay, cherrywood, briar wood, maple, staghorn, porcelain, bone, metal, gourds, and even crab claws. The dominating style of pipe is European, but there are examples from Africa and Asia, including opium pipes. The collection was first started by Emil Buring who took over the family business ‘Buring’s Tobacconist’ on Rundle St in 1923. He built on stock accumulated since 1853 when a cigar merchant from Hamburg named Uhlmann first opened the tobacconist shop which was sold on to Rudolph Buring. Emil’s sons Philip and Ralph took over the business after the Second World War and Philip Buring further developed the collection.

Significance: 
The collection is a link to German migration to South Australia, and to commercial enterprise in Adelaide rather than the better known activities on the land and in the wine industry. At its height the collection was reputed to be third or fourth largest in the pipe collecting world, and was well known amongst pipe collectors. ‘Buring’s Tobacconists’ became an iconic location and business in the development of Rundle Street as a commercial centre of Adelaide. The bulk of the collection was loaned for display at the Hahndorf Academy from the 1990s through to 2009. Attitudes towards smoking have changed so much in recent years that interpretation of the collection in future displays will be quite different.

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