A brief history

The association has conducted meetings, exhibitions, liaised with government departments and industry, and provided educational and public information sessions and associated activities continuously since 1978. In 1978, 20 woodworkers participated in an exhibition Woodcraft 78 at the Design Centre in Sydney. The exhibition proved to be popular beyond all expectations, and in response, a woodworkers’ group was established later that year. The new wood working association became the vehicle whereby meetings, projects and exhibitions were organised. The group later adopted the name The Woodworkers Association of NSW (Inc). The founders Leon Sadubin, Alan Wale and Les Miller and many members have since become well known both in Australia and internationally. Leon Sadubin is best known for his furniture in the new Parliament House and the Power House Museum. Les Miller was foremost an educator who became a household name from his participation in the ABC’s Woodies program and The New Inventors. Alan Wale established the Sturt School for Wood in Mittagong in 1985. Members such as Tony Kenway, Mathew Harding and Evan Dunstone have been awarded Churchill fellowships as well as international recognition for their work. Many other members working quietly away on commissions produce uniquely designed and made furniture and other wooden objects. Many are hardly known beyond their client base and woodworking enthusiasts. The association is a forum for all those interested in wood. Many amateurs – both seriously dedicated and slightly interested – benefit from our regular bi-monthly meetings and other activities. Some have gone on to become full time woodworkers. The bi-monthly general meetings provide a forum for discussion, demonstration and presentation by guest speakers. Guests are always welcome. There are also periodic visits to members’ workshops and other sites of interest as well as group projects and competitions. Our newsletter and website are important lines of communication between members, particularly those outside the Sydney metropolitan area as well as for other interested people. The association also provides an educational role in promoting fine woodwork to the general public and assisting people seeking our assistance. We have a regular presence at events such as the Timber and Working with Wood Show, Out of the Woodwork (Historic Houses Trust) and activities of State Forests of NSW. The public also seek our assistance via our website. The association was born from an exhibition of fine woodwork. There is a proud history of continuing exhibitions, albeit less frequently in recent years. We are finding it increasingly difficult to find suitable exhibition spaces at reasonable rates. The following is a list of exhibitions staged by the association:

  • Woodcraft 78, the Design Centre Sydney, 1978
  • OTC House, Martin Place, 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983
  • Woodcraft goes to the Opera, The Opera House Exhibition Hall 1985
  • Woodcraft goes to the Opera, The Opera House Exhibition Hall 1987
  • Hands on, Dixon Gallery, State Library of NSW, 1991
  • For Tomorrow, Mitchell and Dixon Galleries, State Library of NSW, 1993
  • Woodmasters 2000, ABC building, Ultimo, Sydney, 2000
  • Woodworkers@home, Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney, 2005
  • Chifley Square Exhibition
  • Creations in Wood 2014, Gallery Lane Cove, September 2014
  • Creations in Wood 2015, Gallery Lane Cove, September 2015

Most of the exhibitors are individual designer/makers who work to commissions so exhibitions provide a rare opportunity to see such a display of fine woodwork. The increasing appreciation of our work has been evident in galleries and private and public collections such as the permanent collection of the Powerhouse Museum and The Henry Kendal Collection established by the Forestry Commission of NSW (now State Forests of NSW). Parliament House in Canberra also provides a permanent and spectacular showcase for the Australian woodwork from panelling to the furniture in the chambers and offices. Members of the association were commissioned to carry out much of this work. Australian timbers are unique and beautiful and our woodworkers are very talented. They have received acclaim in Australia and internationally.  

Our old websites
Please note: these old websites contain some outaded material and broken links.
2006 – 2010        www.woodworkersnsw.org.au/_index.html
2001 – 2006        www.woodworkersnsw.org.au/eventdetails.html