KOONUNG WOODTURNING GUILD 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION.

 

 

The Koonung Woodturning Guild celebrated its 20th anniversary at a special meeting which featured two significant events: the award of only its 4th life membership to Alan Thompson and the launch of the book “True To Turning”, written by David Pincus, which is a record of the events of those past 20 years.

 

In awarding the life membership, President Graham Besley, noted that it was recognition of Alan’s long and dedicated commitment and services to the Guild: as president – during a particularly difficult period following the unexpected death of Harold Irving, the long serving, first president – as a mentor, teacher, demonstrator, multiple prize winner at the Guild, for his representation of the Guild at the AWTEX – both as an award winner, and at other times a judge – and, by no means least, as an exemplary woodturner who undertook all these tasks willingly, seemingly without effort and always with quiet humility.

 

 

The history: “True To Turning” is a tale of the Guild’s progress from quite modest beginnings to its justifiably proud standing today. It records how an initial, small group of enthusiasts, mostly strangers to one another, generally with scant woodturning skills and initially without equipment, let alone a workshop, but with one binding, common interest, through sheer determination and great goodwill, and despite occasional set-backs, succeeded to grow and prosper the Guild to become a vibrant, dedicated and cohesive club. It tells the tale of a workshop developed from equally humble beginnings, in a bare metal shed on the grounds of a regional sponsored Community House, that was progressively fitted out, equipped and re-equipped to become the focus of the Guild’s ‘hands-on’ activities. The history relates that from the outset the membership embraced an outward looking staunch: supporting local charities with the manufacture of toys, demonstrating at regional arts and crafts events, supporting the annual Australian Woodturning Exhibition –indeed managing this event for eight years – and by welcoming anyone with an interest in wood turning into its ranks. Through collaboration and an emphasis on example, teaching, and mentoring the Guild nurtured a cohort of exceptionally skilled and creative wood turners, such that today it can rightly claim to be a front runner amongst its peers.

Apart from a chronology of events the history includes profiles written by four presidents – with those of two deceased president prepared by others – and submissions by individual members on related topics and topical yarns; another demonstration of the collegiate nature of the Koonung Woodturning Guild.

 

President Graham Besley invited four former presidents to launch the book. In turn Alan Thompson, Arthur Sankey, Dianna Bermingham and Ray Smith presented their personal views of the Guild’s achievements and their impression of its history.

 

In his response David referred to the two reasons that prompted him to write the history. The principal and most obvious one being his belief that this was a storey that needed to be told and recorded for posterity , not the least because it honoured the pioneers and those later members who had worked with diligence and enthusiasm to build the Guild into the vibrant and cohesive group that it is today.

 

His second reason was purely personal. As a self- confessed, unskilled woodturning “tyro”[1] who in his time had made only very minor contributions to the Guild’s activities, he considered the production of the History as his way of “giving something back”, employing a craft with which he felt marginally more comfortable. He commended the book to the membership with a thank you for all those who had given him encouragement, guidance and support.

 

In summing up this successful event, president Graham Besley reminded members that the History was merely “a work in progress” and expressed the hope that some-one would take on the task to carry storey forward in succeeding years.

 

 

 

[1] Tyro: “A beginner, a novice” (Macquarie Dictionary)

A succession of Presidents; in reverse order of serving. From left to right - current President Graham Besley, Immediate Past President Ray Smith, Di Bermingham, Arthur Sankey and Alan Thompson give their recollections of the Guild at the 20th Anniversary luncheon and book launch.

The Koonung Woodturning Guild celebrates its 20th anniversary with the publication of “True To Turning”, a history of this period, written by a member: David Pincus. 

 

The history is a tale of the Guild’s progress from quite modest beginnings to its justifiably proud standing today. It records how an initial, small group of enthusiasts, mostly strangers to one another, generally with scant woodturning skills and initially without equipment, let alone a workshop, but with one binding, common interest, through sheer determination and great goodwill, and despite occasional set-backs, succeeded to grow and prosper the Guild to become a vibrant, dedicated and cohesive club. It tells the tale of a workshop developed from equally humble beginnings, in a bare metal shed on the grounds of a regional sponsored Community House, that was progressively fitted out, equipped and re-equipped to become the focus of the Guild’s ‘hands-on’ activities. The history relates that from the outset the membership embraced an outward looking staunch: supporting local charities with the manufacture of toys, demonstrating at regional arts and crafts events, supporting the annual Australian Woodturning Exhibition –indeed managing this event for eight years – and by welcoming anyone with an interest in wood turning into its ranks. Through collaboration and an emphasis on example, teaching, and mentoring the Guild nurtured a cohort of exceptionally skilled and creative wood turners, such that today it can rightly claim to be a front runner amongst its peers.

Apart from a chronology of events the history includes profiles written by four presidents – with those of two deceased president prepared by others – as well as submissions by individual members on related topics and anecdotes; another demonstration of the collegiate nature of the Koonung Woodturning Guild.

David Pincus (left) with President Graham Besley with a copy of 'True to Turning' following the launch.

Koonung Woodturners Guild Inc.

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