Goulburn Valley Woodworkers is a non-for-profit organisation that provides a community service and raises money for local charities. This month, we had the pleasure of chatting with president Bob Beecroft and treasurer Chris Harvey.
How and when did the Goulburn Valley Woodworkers start?
The GV Woodworkers started around 38 years ago with three or four people getting together to do some woodwork, some woodturning, then holding a few classes on woodturning. They decided other people might want to do it to, so a wood working class was held at Shepparton Technical School in 1984 and as a result a wood working club was formed.
Can anyone join? Do you need to be skilled, or do you teach woodturning?
Anyone can join, male or female and of any age. We have a very wide range of member ages who attend; our youngest member who comes with his father is seven or eight, and our oldest member is 93. We are very inclusive and diverse.
You don’t need to be skilled to join. We don’t teach or do lessons, but we do show people how to do things. If they want to make something they will get assistance. So technically it’s teaching but not in a class context. It’s more of a community; we help and advise.
How many members do you have and where do you meet?
We have close to 100 members and we meet at our workshop in Shepparton. We also go to other venues and do demos, for instance Toolamba Twilight Festival, Maude Street mall, Kidsfest, Shepparton Show, Merrigum and a lot more. We take a lathe and will show people how we do a bit of woodwork.
KidsFest is something that is very big for us. We can have a line of a dozen families out the gate waiting to come in. We have pre-made, part-assembled toys for the kids to assemble and take home. They are rapt and absolutely love it.
What charities do Woodturners of the Goulburn Valley support and why?
We support only local charities. Every year we make about 500 toys which we give away to local charities such as St. Vincent de Paul, St Mel’s, St Brendan’s, Family Care, Community Fund and the Marian Community. Every year we also donate some of our funds to local charities, which over the years has amounted to over $43,000.
We pick two charities each year, one of which is always GV Hospice Care.
Can you tell me about any interesting projects you have done?
As a group, one of the most interesting ones we have done is the board-room table for Wanganui Park Secondary College which was a very big project. We have recently renovated a furphy cart for J. Furphy & Sons, and built the seats at the botanical gardens – that is one of our most recent ones. We do get a lot of calls from people asking if we can do this or that.
What gives you the most satisfaction?
For Bob, who took over as president last August, the greatest satisfaction is giving toys away at Christmas. “The charities came and spoke and gave us some background on what they do and how many people out there are disadvantaged and even destitute. Then they spoke about the appreciation for the toys we give them. Me being reasonably new to the club, I sort of thought yeah well it’s a bit of a token that we give these toys to them and who knows what happens to them after that? However I was really corrected in my thinking when they took the toys because they really are something that makes a difference to the charities and the families that the charities are supporting, so that was one of the biggest things for me,” Bob said.
One of the most personally satisfying things for Chris has been making a dining table and chairs for his home. But also, he says, “being involved in the community and the interest the general shows in our organisation is well worth the effort we put in.”
The GV Woodturners hold an annual wood show, including a large fundraising raffle, on the last weekend in October at the McIntosh Centre, and is always looking for sponsors. If you would like to help, you can contact them on 0481 856 407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in joining the woodworkers you can also contact them, or drop in to the workshop at 96 Packham St, Shepparton, 3630.
They are open;
Tuesday 9 am to 12 pm and 6pm to 9 pm
Wednesday 6pm to 9 pm
Thursday 9 am to 12 pm and 6pm to 9 pm
Saturday 9 am to 12 pm