Since being denied membership to the CWA, my interest in all things craft and home preserves has diminished. However, I’ve always wanted to knit and the Pungenna mob has invited me to join them for a Yarn Up where I can learn to knit and enjoy the indigenous camaraderie. Bearing this in mind, I decided it would be good idea to visit the Deloraine Craft Fair.

Deloraine Craft Fair - Main Street Crafts

Buildings: Deloraine Craft Fair

Deloraine Craft Fair

by Roger Findlay

Entering the town of Deloraine from the north, I thought it a good idea to call-in the Deloraine and Districts Tourist Information Centre where I was greeted by the wonderful ladies on the counter. After commenting on the horse outside, I left with my map and program of events.

Deloraine Craft Fair - Malua Racehorse Statue

Bronze statue of Malua: 1884 Melbourne Cup winner

I took a stroll down the hill towards the river and took time to observe the items of craft for sale in the shops and galleries. I didn’t need a wooden jewellery box or a leadlight glass panel but I wouldn’t have minded a mutton bird from the butcher half way down the hill.

Tighter than Arkwright’s till, I opened my wallet and paid my $15 for a stamp on my hand which allowed me access to each of the Deloraine Craft Fair venues and bus rides between them. After joking with the fellas about Senior’s discounts and how close they were to the box, I made my way to the St. Mark’s Anglican church where I was pleasantly surprised by the interior of the building and the displays of flowers by various groups of locals. What a lovely church! If ever I decide to change my religion from Liverpool F.C., then this is where I’ll go.

Deloraine Craft Fair - Flower Arrangements

Flower arrangements: Deloraine Craft Fair

Deloraine Craft Fair - St. Mark's Anglican Church

St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Deloraine Tasmania

Community Men’s Shed?

Still walking, I arrived at the Community Shed and, as usual, I put my foot in it when I mentioned a Men’s Shed. Don’t you think it would be better if we were all one gender? They had Lark Distillery whisky in part of this building and already the ladies were getting into it even if it was half past ten!

One of them took quite a shine to me and she wasn’t bad either. You know the sort: nothing to do during the day, rings on the thumbs, small tat. on the left ankle and out with the girls. I kept walking and left her glancing at my back pocket.

The largest venue wasn’t far but for those who had whisky on board; the bus was a good option. Some of the best craft displays were to be found inside the Community Complex. I loved the showcase feature – enamelling by world renowned artist, Jenny Gore, but wasn’t keen on items crafted from bone and antler on a nearby stand.

Hats Off to the Milliner

Strangely, the Deloraine Craft Fair highlight for me was the hat stand and the young milliner who is committed to sustaining a dying craft. We had a good chat. She was a typical milliner if you know what I mean and her designs tempted me to try them on! Just a few days before the Cup, I needed a creation to wear at the CWA lunch. At $300 a go, I needed a big one that covered most of my head. Much better value than the pill-box type.

After traipsing around the countless stands selling honey, chocolates, cheese and walnuts; I resisted buying a Bunny Burger from a brightly painted red van. Visions of our own rabbit plague and a whole worthless rabbit in a roll flickered through my mind as I stood in the line to catch a bus to the next venue at the Show Grounds.

The bus system was excellent. An old codger would pull-up, look at the stamp on your hand and drop you on one side of the river or the other. Sometimes, fat ladies would have difficulty walking down the aisle of the school buses but that didn’t stop them from having candy floss in one hand and a doughnut in the other.

White Hot: Pokers and Glass

It was hot now but the time had come to watch the blacksmiths shape white hot steel. Several highly skilled poor sods slaved over a hot fire reviving a commonplace trade from the past. I clearly remember making a poker at school. I had to light the fire with a flint and keep it going with bellows. When my steel was hot, I belted it with a large ball pein hammer until Mr Dover was satisfied and then, proudly, took it home for Mum.

Deloraine Craft Fair - Blacksmith

Exhibitions: Deloraine Craft Fair blacksmiths

Deloraine Craft Fair - Stamping Hot Steel

Deloraine Craft Fair

I’ve always been fascinated by glass blowing and took a moment to watch the Poatina Hot Glass Studio students make an item of beauty from a lump of glass while the commentator described every move.

I didn’t need a Dagwood Dog or a ride on the spotted Lady Bug. It was time for me to leave and head over to Douglas River for my next Think Tasmania assignment.

Secret Quilting Business

Oh, there is one thing I’ve missed! All around me live ladies who spend much of their time quilting. Some are members of the CWA and others are much more serious going to places afar showing, judging or admiring works.

If they knew I have photos of the winning quilts at the Deloraine Craft Fair, I would have them banging my door down but it is with regret that I do not have permission to include them with this article. I must say that all of the quilts were magnificent but I think I’ll stick with my hats as the highlight.

Well done to all of those involved in organising this event and to those that exhibit. It’s good for the town and good for Tasmania. I will be back to the Deloraine Craft Fair.

Roger Findlay spends all his holidays in Tasmania, then writes about the experience for Think Tasmania. If you’d like Roger to visit you in the name of research (so we can publish information about your business), please contact us.

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