Shire Woodworking Club clocks up 20 years of making toys for disadvantaged kids

Generation woodwork: The Shire Woodworking Club's 80 members include the oldest, Doug Wickens, 97, and youngest, year 10 student of De La Salle College Caringbah, Spencer Ramsay, 15. Picture: John Veage
Generation woodwork: The Shire Woodworking Club's 80 members include the oldest, Doug Wickens, 97, and youngest, year 10 student of De La Salle College Caringbah, Spencer Ramsay, 15. Picture: John Veage

What started as a small group of men turning planks of wood into clever creations has become a social community hub that makes many children smile.

Two decades on since the first nails were hammered in, the Shire Woodworking Club at Lilli Pilli is still going strong.

The club marks its 20th anniversary this month, in June.

Its early beginnings date back to 1998, when 18 members of what was then known as the Southern Region Woodturners at Oyster Bay’s Cubby House met to discuss forming a new club.

Its first project was to make toys for children affected by a tsunami following an earthquake in Papua New Guinea.

But it had a sad ending. The government in Papua New Guinea banned imported timber, and the toys were likely destroyed.

The club’s first successful donation of toys was made to the Salvation Army for Christmas.

The first delivery of toys to the Sydney Children’s Hospital was made in 2004, and six years later, the club changed its name.

From small animals to billy carts and pull-along toys, toys were growing in abundance.

In 2011, the club started donating to charitable shire organisations that assist disadvantaged children, including Sutherland Shire Family Services and Project Youth. 

As the club acquired more saws and tools, toys were becoming more sophisticated.

Doll houses, possum boxes for WIRES, a replica MRI machine for hospitals and toys for music therapy were all being crafted by hand.

The club also provides a space for women, to join enjoy the company and friendship of others.

Details: 9522 7674. 

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