A day to celebrate Tools and Trades

On Saturday 18th November 2023, Alyce McCue and Sam Westbrooke from the National Trust Conservation and Advocacy Team attended the Hand Tool Preservation Association of Australia (HTPAA) ‘Tools and Trades’ Day. The HTPAA is not-for-profit membership organisation providing a forum for discussing traditional tools and the way in which artisans of the past worked with these tools, recognising the skill and ingenuity of their efforts. They are also custodians of a significant hand tool collection and trades related library. The HTPAA holds an Antiques and Collectable Hand Tool Market three times a year. The ‘Tools and Trades’ Day is the HTPAA biennial conference at which members give talks and demonstrations about their specific tools and trades of interest.

At the 2023 ‘Tools and Trades’ Day: Ian Fremantle, heritage tiler, spoke about Victorian tiling methods; Peter Sheehan traditional painter and decorator spoke about early painting and decorating methods, particularly wood graining; Sam Westbrooke outlined the National Trust’s Como Approach initiative – ensuring that conservation skills are valued and sustained into the future; conservator Debra Parry shed light on ephemera associated with heritage tools such as early advertising and packaging; John Lindsay presented on the restoration of the topsail schooner ‘Alma Doepel’; and, John Hawing spoke the book he is writing about his shifter collection, outlining the history of shifters, their uses and the manufacturers. Members of the Association also provided demonstrations and displays of their tool collections.

The aims and activities of the HTPAA are well aligned with the Como Approach as they promote and provide knowledge sharing forums relating to traditional skills and also attract traditional skill practitioners as members. The National Trust looks forward to partnering with the HTPAA on future Como Approach activities, including involvement in traditional trade workshops and the Traditional Trades Expo in 2024.

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