Albert (Tapper) Torney

The information contained in the email I received for the content of this post is a hoax apparently. Well not so much of a hoax but the model cars in the pictures are not Tapper Torney’s. They were constructed by Sandy from New Zealand. Please note Sandy’s CanCars. You can read all about his construction of the cars and see the plans.

Tapper Torney was a real person who collected bottles in Broken Hill. See comments by Peter Lyster and the article he sent a link to. Thanks to Peter for that. It is also claimed on another site that Tapper also made model cars from cans but the ones in the original article are not his but Sandy’s. I can not find any pictures of Tapper’s model cars.

Someone has got carried away in telling Tapper’s story and illustrated it with Sandy’s model cars.

I will be more careful in the future.

This is the original post:

Oh to have the patience this man must have had. From now on every time I see an empty beer can I will look at in a new light.

People from Broken Hill will remember from their younger days this Icon of the city used to go to all the public functions… especially the picture theatres and always carried a sugar bag to collect empty Bottles and Cans.

His name was… Albert (Tapper) Torney. Everyone thought he was a bit Eccentric and kids would tease and hassle him. But it was discovered he was very talented and only sold the empty bottles and some of the cans.

After he died in (1998 aged 86) his large collection of model cars he made from the aluminium cans was discovered. This goes to prove… “You Shouldn’t Judge A Book by its Cover”, or a Sculptor by his sugar bag.

Some of his collection:




Amazing.  I received this in an email chain and want to thank whoever is responsible for the pictures and information.  I think Albert would have liked his work appreciated throughout the world.

Remember visit Sandy’s CanCars. I have contacted Sandy and offered my apologies.

18 thoughts on “Albert (Tapper) Torney

    • I just received a ‘form’ of this email attributing your talents to Albert Torney. I check out emails that attribute ‘specifics’ to an individual as all too often I find this type of scenario. What galls me as well is that ‘someone’ feels the necessity to ‘enhance’ a true story! In most cases I find the real account is more fascinating than the fiction fabricated!!! Enjoyed see your creative art pieces. Rest assured that I will acknowledge this to my e-pal and ‘forward’ the email with the appropriate corrections. Regards, Shirley from Langley, BC, Canada :) ps We have dear friends who live in Auckland :)))


  1. Reply from Sandy:

    HI Ken,
    Many thanks for contacting me.
    This email has gone around for years, and a few years ago I got contacted by the Broken Hill museum to varify that the cars were not that of the late Albert Tapper Torney.
    They too, like many others smelt a rat and decided to do some research.

    It is fine to leave the original post as it may well job peoples mind that they have seen that email.

    Kind regards


  2. One thing that strikes me is that in a blog where Sandy talks about his car creations he also mentions at the end that he also sells the plans for making his cars from cans. Who is to say that this Albert Torney guy didn’t get a hold of these plans and make some cars himself? If he really existed and really did collect cans, why not? You never know…..


    • This idea would hold more water (beer) if some of the cans were of Australian beers. While it is possible Waikato & Rheineck were sold in Broken Hill in Tapper’s time, it seems unlikely.


  3. Yes, one wonders whether Tapper Torney of Broken Hill really made those cars. However, I can say that he was a real person. As a child circa 1959 I recall seeing Tapper Torney behind the mound on South Broken Hill oval during football matches. Yes, he used to tap bottles (i.e., collect them from people or trash and make thee pence for each bottle on the return to the store). He was something of a local legend. I’m not sure why. He certainly competed with us children for tapping rights. He was eccentric and known to everyone. Over the years I thought of him and wondered of the outdoor life was risky … did he have a healthy diet etc? I moved to the United States to live. You can imagine my surprise when my brother sent me this newspaper cutting (it my have been Broken Hill or even Port Pirie News). As of 1987 Tapper Torney was the fittest most alert man in the retirement home! Enjoy this blast from the past:


    • Thanks Peter I am sure that people will enjoy the newspaper article. I did. I will try some more searching there must be more information on him available. Sandy mentioned the Broken Hill Museum that is a possibility. If I find anything will post it. Thanks again.


  4. Sincerely appreciated the beautiful handiwork on the crafted vehicles, but I appreciate the honesty expressed by the author of this thread as well. It’s nice to see that there are people who make serious attempts to set things right. BRAVO!


  5. Definitely takes more courage to admit to an error. Still, I really enjoyed checking out the pictures of the cars. They are amazing!


  6. just received this email in England from Canada. I checked it on Goggle before I was going to send it on. I’ll forward the photos and credit them to you Sandy!


Hey you must have something to say ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s