A short history of the Eurobodalla Woodies


This organisation started in June 1987, when furniture restorer, Peter Walsh, called a public meeting of interested Woodies in his Mogo workshop. Although he expected the meeting to set the tone for the organisation’s development, he already had in mind some of the features that were to become important aspects of the group. Membership would be open to all skill levels, and all kinds of woodwork. He felt that the group should actually make things, not just talk about them. The group would use membership funding to buy timbers, agree on projects, make and sell the items and use the proceeds to buy more timber and tools.

Supporting of charities too was part of the original concept. The meeting was a success and led to regular gatherings. The organisation quickly took shape, with membership reaching 25 after just 2 months.

Homeless, but happy

The organisation became incorporated on the 22nd March 1990 to be known as The Eurobodalla Woodcraft Guild Inc. and as a ‘not for profit’ its aim was to support community and other charitable organisations. Download the Constitution)

The activities of the Guild , over the first 7 years is richly told in a publication with the above name, compiled by Norm Lee and published by Judy Lee in February 2001.
A copy is available for download (27MBy).  It Chronicles the talks, demonstrations, visitors, lecturers, projects, developments, field trips and charity work carried out between 1987 and 1993. In that time the Guild met regularly in the workshop of Mogo wood turner and teacher, Don Lee.

The Guilds next temporary home was the workshop of Malua Bay builder, Imre Szedlack, well know for his clocks. Then came a stint at Durras at the home of George Donnelly, followed by a period at Tony Whelan’s home at Surfside. The guild by this time had started to acquire tools and machinery using funds from the sale of made items.

The Bowling Club years

The Guild’s first independent home came in the form of part of the green keepers and bus shed at the Batemans Bay Bowling Club. It was a mutually beneficial relationship, with the Woodies offering support to the Club in many of its projects, in return for accommodation. Unfortunately with the Bowling Club undergoing a transfer of ownership and a change in priorities the Woodies were required to again seek a new home.

The Woodies at the former Batemans Bay Bowling Club

Back to Mogo

The Guild followed up an invitation by Maureen Nathan, owner of the Original Gold rush Colony, to utilise some space in a machinery shed. Once again this proved to be a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties.

 This space was only partly enclosed and required considerable work to make it secure. The Guild set about laying a concrete floor and fabricating new walls and installing many power outlets. Over the following 10 years the Guild carried out various extensions to the premises, including a toilet, compactus and outdoor but undercover work spaces.

With the benefit of the Community Building Partnership program grants in 2011 the Guild was able to upgrade machinery and to buy a very important dust extraction system.

In February 2011 the Guild entered the information age with its own Domain name and website.

The workshop was officially opened by the local State Member of Parliament the Hon. Andrew Constance on Saturday the 1st October 2011.

During this happy period the Guild became an integral part of the Mogo community, participating in open days during the River of Art Festival and visitors to the Gold Rush Colony. This was a period of consolidation where membership grew to over 60 and many projects were carried out for groups such as Eurobodalla Shire Council, Anglicare, St Johns Church Moruya, Batemans Bay Tennis Club to name a few.

Disaster Strikes

1st January 2020 the Woodie's workshop, timber storage and records were completely annihilated by the Clyde Mt fire. The Original Gold Rush Colony was mostly obliterated by the fire and not long after it was sold.

Search for a Home

For some time after the fires, the only way that the Guild could function was to again revert to the old practice of using the home facilities of those members fortunate enough to have space. It was a  considered imperative to keep the Guild together.

It wasn't long before a generous offer was made by Mr Steve Love and family of 'Woodlands' to allow the Guild to use part of their acreage. This entailed the rebuilding of Steve's burnt out shed. The guild is blessed with the skills to carry out the task and now enjoys a small open sided roofed space flanked by 3 containers. This facility does not allow many members to work at once but has proved to be a boost to membership and maintain the Guild’s spirit.

Unfortunately, this is not a permanent solution and the Guild has, since the fires, sort assistance from various organisations for assistance in acquiring permanent tenure on land within the Shire.

Mogo Again

After much negotiation with the Guild and other similarly affected groups, the Eurobodalla Shire Council has now agreed to lease land to four Clubs and create an 'Artisan Centre' at Mogo.

This offer will require the 4 groups to raise all the necessary capital to clear the land , excavate, provide car parking, all services and construct each building at their cost. This is a monumental task for 4 not for profit groups.
However nothing has been settled yet!


 Modified: 4/07/2023