Bringing Arts & Crafts Into the Twentieth Century; The Woodturners Guild

Tony Ney (left) from the Menai group of the Sydney Woodturners Guild in the studio with presenter Pat Carey

The Arts & Craft Pavilion makes up a very important historical element of the Sydney Royal Easter Show.  The items on display vary widely, from leatherwork to quilting to cake decorating and beyond.  The items are only as limited as their creators imagination and creativity (and there is definitely plenty of that going around!).

John from the Bankstown City Sydney Woodturners Guild showing off one of their ‘comfort bowls’ – “It’s for when you just want to sit down and feel something nice and solid in your hands”

One of the great crafts on display at the Arts & Craft pavilion is Woodturning – a form of woodworking where the wood is moving on a lathe while a stationery tool is used to cut and shape it.  Tony Ney, Woodturner from the Sydney Woodturners Guild Menai Group is one of the talented men displaying their skills in the pavilion for the Show, and he caught up with Pat in the studio to talk about the Guild and also some of the challenges facing their craft.

The Woodturners are facing a struggle that many arts & crafts specialties are trying to overcome – encouraging young people to pick up the skills to cary on the tradition.  This makes exhibitions like the Sydney Royal Easter Show especially important and vital for local arts and crafts societies.

During his interview with Pat, Tony discussed how difficult it is becoming to get young people to come along to the Sydney Woodturning Guild or any of its associated groups.  Tony and the Guild often go out to Primary and Higschools to demonstrate Woodturning, trying to recruit young people to learn how to create a variety of objects for practical and artistic use, but most importantly, to pass down the tradition.  The age gap in the craft is obvious when visiting the Woodturning Guild’s stall in the Arts & Craft Pavilion, with the majority of the men demonstrating the skill well into their retired years.

With such a potentially dire fate facing the Woodturners and other arts & crafts, it is exciting and a relief to hear that alone today at they Sydney Royal Easter Show, Tony has handed out over 250 flyers and had in-depth discussions with visitors of all ages about getting involved in Woodturning.

Hopefully many of the fresh faced visitors at this year’s Show will become the faces demonstrating Woodturning for future generations.

If you would like to learn more about Woodturning, head to the Sydney Wood Turners Guild or email

Eastern Region Woodturners

Phil Mcleod 0418 267 096

Mario Dato 0419 404 405


Menai Woodturners

Bill Black 0401 701 327

Tony Ney 02 9520 0634


Northern Beach

Jack Butler 02 9999 4290

Alex Bendeli 02 9476 1976


Bankstown City Woodturners Guild

Kevin Santwyk 02 9644 8366

David King 02 9786 6749


Southern Highlands Woodies

Martin Nadas 0418 658 601

Ian Pye 02 4862 3750


Macarthur Woodturners Inc

Paul Kruss 0417 757 877

Ian Cocks 0410 159 180

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