70 Years at Sturt (1941-2011) - Wood

A short history by Grace Cochrane

O E SoutherdenAlan WaleFollowing the woodwork and carpentry classes that were run from 1941 by O.E. Southerden, and his son, Jack, the first wood workshop was built in 1947 and another in 1965. Harry Lloyd and John O'Neill taught there, while Tony Fulford was appointed teacher in 1960, remaining until 1987. Into the 1960s, they also made some of the furniture for Frensham, and for Sturt itself. Many more commissions were undertaken for public buildings and churches. Others who worked there through the 1970s and 1980s included Toby Muir Wilson, Norman Stocks, Peter Adams and Richard Raffan.

The Sturt School for Wood opened in 1985, with founding director, Alan Wale, and evolved as an annual one-year course for around 12 students, many seeking time out from previous professional occupations. When Wale retired in 1992, he was followed until 2009 by Tom Harrington, who was successful in having the course accredited as a Certificate IV in Furniture Design and Technology. A huge crowd of those who had been associated with the Wood School attended its 21st anniversary, in 2006. A second workshop space originally built for woodwork residents in 1975 accommodates a program of 10-week intensive fine woodworking courses.

Currently, Sturt School for Wood offers an accredited course (Certificate IV) in Furniture Design and Technology - Fine Furniture Making, as well as a wide range of courses each year including 10 week intensive fine woodworking courses with specialist guest tutors, special subject weekend and introductory courses, plus summer and winter schools and an evening class program. Studio coordinator is Dale Dryen.