The elves in this workshop share a laugh, banter, a passion for timber, and a spirit of giving that puts smiles on hundreds of little faces each Christmas.
They’re all volunteers and members of the Caboolture and District Woodcrafters Club.
Doug Pearce, Club President, says making hundreds of toys every year is a whole club project from start to finish.
Wood logs are collected and brought in to the village so they can be milled, dried and prepared before being carefully crafted into toys, then painted.
The result is around 600 toys per year, most of which are donated to charities including The Salvation Army Caboolture branch, Caboolture Family Haven, St Vincent de Paul, Adopt-A-Family, RAFFTS Family Counselling Service and the Department of Communities and Child Safety.
Each group is provided with 50-60 toys to pass on to children, who otherwise may not receive any gifts at Christmas. The remaining toys are sold to help cover the woodcrafters’ costs.
“It takes all year to make them all,” Doug explains.
“It makes us feel warm and fuzzy. It gives a lot of members a sense of worth and purpose.”
The group formed in 1998 and Doug says they’ve been producing toys for charity for about 19 years.
Each toy takes about three weeks to make – from drawing a design on paper to the end product.
Members make trains, trucks, tractors, aeroplanes, cots, rocking horses, jeeps, sewing machines, building blocks, highchairs, jewellery boxes, motorcycles and more.
Doug says wooden toys are special because “they pretty much last forever”, there are no sharp edges and the paint is safe if children decide to chew on the timber.
The woodcrafters follow Australian standards for toy making and the quality of their work is second to none.
“They don’t mass-produce stuff like this,” Doug says.
This year’s batch will be ready for charities to collect in the last week of November.
Doug says many volunteers from these groups get emotional when they see what has been made for the children.
“I’d like to thank everyone who donated timber during the year. Without their donations, we can’t do it,” he says.
Caboolture and District Woodcrafters is based at Caboolture Historical Village and has members of all ages.
Visit caboolturewoodcrafters.com for more information.
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