The obvious need, as seen by some people in the Bay, incited one, John Goodwin, to place an advertisement in the local paper calling for those interested in wood crafts to attend a meeting with the idea of forming a ‘club’ which would enhance their skills and be a social and educational outlet for their ‘free time’.
A meeting was held at Nelson Bay High School on Tuesday, 1st August, 1995 and those present gave their support for the formation of the Port Stephens Woodworkers Club.
Following that resolution the inaugural meeting took place at the school on September 12th 1995 and was attended by 28 persons.
The election of officers resulted as follows:-
President John Goodwin
Vice president Bob Campbell
Secretary Ron Salmon
Treasurer Lou Komorowski
Events Organiser Joe Palmada
Safety Officer Len Lavis
Catering Les Grumsen
Librarian Jim Thompson
Membership Officer and Editor Peter Randerson
Social Secretary Bill Balson
Technical Officer Eddy Klinerman
In September 1996 Ian Matheson replaced Peter Randerson as Editor.
Following successful negotiations with the principal of the High School, the way was opened for the club to make use of the wood work room at the school and for use of school machinery and equipment and for club meetings.
This meeting also moved to affiliate with the Wood Turners of the Hunter, which would give successful access to a better insurance plan for the members.
Since that time the Club has been engaged in many public activities including demonstrations at the Poly Clinic, the Australia Day Celebrations, and hands on at several local public schools where children assemble tool boxes and other items as selected by the school. A visit and display, at Salamander Bay primary school, and more recently at Salamander Bay Shopping Centre, at Bunning’s Warehouse at Nelson Bay, at Horizons Golf day, and attendance at Seniors Week celebrations.
We have organised visits to the Club from various ‘experts’ in tool and machinery distribution, including Shane Goodwin, Eddy Klinerman, Bruce Leadbeater, Frank Bollins and others, and have visited locations at Sydney, Newcastle, Wauchope, Singleton, Cessnock, and Gloucester in order to widen our knowledge of timbers and the many uses that can be made of them to get the best results.
Other Woodworking Clubs have also visited us and these include Cessnock, Gunnedah and The Prospect Caravaners Club recently.
At a meeting of members in June 1996 it was decided to secede from the Wood Turners of the Hunter and to become a separate identity and to incorporate as a new body. There had been a feeling of interference with the club’s independence and an ongoing feeling of dissatisfaction with the Association.
The new club was officially registered on August 12th 1996
The Club is pleased to recognise the generous support of Mitre 10 at Salamander Bay, of Bunnings Warehouse at Nelson Bay, of Terrace Trusses at Raymond Terrace and Marquis Bathroom Products at Taylor’s Beach. Many club members have also given great support by donation of cash, materials, and machinery, or by allowing our use on an ‘on loan’ basis..
The Club presently has a membership of 68 persons and can boast of special skills in the use of most machinery including wood turning lathes, routers, a scroll saw, large and small band saws, electric table and small circular saws, hand saws, drills, routers, sanding machines and many other hand held tools..
We have considerable assets including all of the machinery above and have purchased new items including a jointer and a heavy duty thicknesser and the dust collection units that support them and have proficient and experienced operators for all machines .Members also share their special skills in turning, intarsia, carving, and pyrography and are always keen to interest others.
We have an extensive selection of timbers for use of members and are constantly on the lookout for selected timbers when tree felling is taking place in the area.
The Schools Project where we take our tool box kits and encourage the children in “hands on” exercises continues to be a great success. To date we have visited the schools at Bobs Farm, Soldiers Point, Fingal Bay, Williamtown, Salt Ash, St Michaels, and Anna Bay. Romp & Stomp, Cafe Church, and Karingal Pre School have also participated.
We see this as an extremely important Community contact and we are always welcomed with great enthusiasm.
At this time we are finding the present work premises we occupy are far too restrictive to allow all members to make the best of their time and skills, with a maximum accent on safety and care for the welfare of all participants.
It was identified early on that we would need larger premises as the previous use of facilities at the High School and then at a member’s garage which proved unsuitable when the member died. Opportunity was taken to use a “shed” being built at the rear of the Community Arts Centre and this has proved to be very satisfactory for our needs. Many members contributed to the design, organising of funding and fitting out of the shed and they are thanked for their efforts.
Initially the Club was part of the Port Stephens Community Arts Centre with active members having to be a member of both organisations. This created a lot of disquiet amongst the members of both the Arts Centre and our Club which was finally resolved in 2013 when the Club separated from the Arts Centre and we now pay them a nominal rental (currently $500.00 p.a.) for the use of the “Shed”.
This year, 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of our Club which is in a strong financial position, has most of the machinery that it needs, and has a strong and vibrant committee.
Everyone looks forward to a strong and healthy future.
14th July, 2015