CREATIVE SPARK: Blacksmith Terry Drennan, right, is a man in demand at the Cobb+Co Museum.
CREATIVE SPARK: Blacksmith Terry Drennan, right, is a man in demand at the Cobb+Co Museum. Jeff Wright

Creative spirit fires up at Toowoomba Cobb+Co

FARRIER and blacksmith Terry Drennan doesn’t really like talking about himself, but luckily others are eager to do the talking for him.

Word of Terry’s blacksmithing workshops at Toowoomba’s Cobb+Co Museum has spread, attracting people from as far afield as Mission Beach, Port Kembla and Melbourne.

The eight-person workshops sell out months in advance, despite more being timetabled.

This is a man in demand … but don’t ask him why.

Starting out as a farrier and blacksmith in the early 1970s, Terry has been the Australian champion on a number of occasions.

He grew up in Tambo, a little town in central Queensland, and says "horses were just part of life".

"I enjoy being around the animals and horses, but I enjoy being around the fire and making things as well," Terry said of his trade.

These days he’s not competing any more, and he’s wound back a bit on the farrier work, leaving lots of time for blacksmithing and sharing his skills.

"I think there’s been a resurgence of interest," Terry said. "People like to have something they’ve created themselves.

"We do have a lot of people who’ve retired off the land and just always wanted to do this as a hobby, but there’s a real cross-section.

"All you need is a fire and anvil and a few tools and away you go."

Terry’s classes range from a few hours to a few days. They run from the beginners’ course, in which you learn to operate a forge, use the anvil and actually make the tools of your trade, to project classes in which you can make anything from a weather vane to a colonial gate, fireside sets to mirror frames and bookcases. There’s also a popular knife and sword-making workshop.

Terry said he was pleased to pass on the traditional skills of the blacksmith, including riveting and forge-welding, so that they are not lost.

"Today it’s so easy with drills and welders to slap something together," Terry said. But that’s not the sort of true craftsmanship that matters to him and has kept him running these classes for almost 20 years.

And asked if he’ll be doing them for another 20, Terry just laughs, "20, yeh … or 30".

Blacksmithing is the most popular Hands-on Workshop at the Cobb+Co Museum. To book for the next one on August 20-21, call the museum on 4659 4900. For details about this and other workshops, including millinery, wheelwrighting and leather-plaiting, go to www.cobbandco.qm.qld.gov.au.


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