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History and Awards

History of the Guild

The inaugural meeting of the 'Koonung Woodturners Guild' was held on the 8th February 1994 at the Koonung Cottage in Blackburn. The first committee meeting of the Guild was held on the 15th February 1994 in the Doncaster West scout hall. At this meeting it was agreed that the Guild would be an incorporated body and Harold Irving was elected the Guild's first president. Harold remained President until his sudden death in 2003.


In October 2014 the Guild celebrated 20 years with a luncheon and the launching of a book on the history of the Guild. More information can be found here.


Brian Christian Award

Purpose:  The aim of this award is to recognise a member for his or her marked improvement in woodturning since becoming a member while at the same time having contributed significantly to the Guild.


Background:  The award was established in November 1998 to honour the memory of Brian Christian, a founding member of the Guild, in keeping with standards that Brian established by his own deeds and workmanship.  Brian was an excellent woodturner who was prepared to share his knowledge, skill and design techniques with others in order to encourage them to extend their skills and abilities.


Attributes:  All financial members are eligible to be considered for nomination of the award.

A member shall have demonstrated an improvement in the areas  of

i) Practical skills, ii) Design concepts and iii) Quality of finish achieved.

It is desirable that the member also shall have contributed to the Guild in any of the following areas

  1. Contributed to regular activities on a continuous basis,

  2. Participated in assisting and promoting woodturning

  3. Demonstrated an ongoing commitment to supporting Guild activities.



The Committee shall make the selection from members that have been nominated.

The award is presented in August each year at the Annual General meeting The certificate is to be signed by the president and one other officer.


     Previous Award winners:














Life Members

Life membership of the Guild is awarded to members who have a long history of service to the Guild. Life Members have provided outstanding and ongoing contribution to the operations and activities of the Guild and assisted in the continuing development of the woodturning skills of the members.


Life membership has been awarded to:


John Atkinson         1997

Geoff Bird               1997

Harold Irving           2001

Alan Thompson      2014

Ray Smith                2015



John Atkinson Award

Background:  From the late 1990's, Guild member the late John Atkinson, produced turned toys which were provided to a Victorian charity (later called 'Country Hope') who provided respite for children with cancer. Over the years the Guild assisted John in  making toys (not all of which are turned) which are left in an unfinished state that allows the children to decorate them. In 2009 the event was named 'John Atkinson's Toys for Country Hope' with an award for the best turned out item, the first being awarded in 2010 to Alan Thompson.


Process:   The decision as to the the best, most imaginative toy is made by consensus of the Monday night critique group and is usually presented at the September monthly meeting.



Previous Award Winners:


Year                           Recipient                   

2021                          Richard Jardine

2020                          Not awarded this year

2019                          Not awarded this year

2018                          Cliff Walsh

2017                          John Osborne

2016                          Ray Dennis

2015                          John McBrinn

2014                          Mal Jackson

2013                          David Scott

2012                          Jim Pagonis

2011                          John Osborne(1)

2010                          Val Dalsanto

2009                          Alan Thompson

2008                          Rick Gilks

2007                          Dianna Birmingham

2006                          Ray Smith

2005                          Reg Johnson

2004                          David Tonkin

2003                          Peter and Sheila Flynn

2002                          Max Lehmann

2001                          Denis Champion

2000                          Joe Walker

1999                          Geoff Oakley

Year                         Recipient                        




2018                          Alan Thompson

2017                          Mal Jackson

2016                          Richard Jardine

2015                          Joe Walker

2014                          Mal Jackson

2013                          Graham Besley

2012                          Alan Thompson

2011                          Alan Thompson

2010                          Alan Thompson



Graham Besleywhistles and tops.jpg

2016 'Toys for Country Hope'

2016 John Atkinson Award Winning Entry by Richard Jardine

Toys painted by the kids (2014)

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