A brief historical view of the Society

(With thanks to John Carter)

Foundation members of the Society had originally been members of the Woodcraftsmen’s Guild. However they had the desire to specialise in woodturning rather than be associated with a range of woodworking pursuits. The Society was originally called the Brisbane Woodturners Society – this was changed to the present name when the Society was incorporated in 1986.

These early enthusiasts met in each other’s homes to discuss and demonstrate various aspects of woodturning. No doubt the morning and afternoon teas, supplied by the host’s spouse were something to be talked about! As the group expanded, a more formal association was developed.

The first official meeting was held at the home of Ben Flack, at Sunnybank on 23rd June, 1979. Thirteen attended this inaugural meeting. The first President was Les Stennett. This Committee set up the basics aims of the Society which form the platform for our present structure today. The initial annual subscription was set at $10.00 and a $1.00 meeting fee was imposed. Many of this founding group has since been elevated to Life Membership

Meetings continued to held at the homes of members until about 1981 when other venues were used. Meetings have been held in the Arts Building, in Edward Street, at Torwood, Nundah and Wooloongabba. Members always had the aim to “one day” have their very own headquarters and surplus funds were directed towards this ultimate.

In the early 1990’s the derelict scout hall at Pine Street became available and with a lot of enthusiasm, hard work and money well spent, the building has been transformed into the spacious, well appointed facility that we know today. Alterations and additions created office space, store, library and kitchen. Each Management Committee has continued the policy to try to provide the best in machinery, tools and library materials.

The first Exhibition was held at the Mt Coot-tha Gardens Auditorium in August 1980. Members sales amounted to $728.50 and door takings came to $60.00. The established annual competition, which is now recognised as one of the Society’s most important activities, was coupled with this function. The biannual Exhibitions (in August and November) and the annual Competition are now established as regular activities. The first “Christmas” show was held in 1985.

The Society over the years has also been involved in a range of community functions such as Warana, The Timber & Working with Wood Show, School and Church Fetes and Camp Quality. Toy making for charity has also been a regular activity. In 1983, the Society organised Australia’s first International Woodturners Seminar at Bardon. This was followed in 1986 by another Seminar at Griffith University. National and International Demonstrators and Lecturers attended with 250 visitors. These events helped to put the WSQ on the world map as a respected group of forward thinking woodturners.

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