The National Endangered Skills and Trades festival aims to raise awareness for the need for apprenticeship funding in the traditional trades. Training for these trades was once possible, but currently no longer fits within the Australian trades apprenticeship structure. These include trades like: bookbinders, blacksmiths, clockmakers and even locksmiths who cut and create antique locks and keys by hand, as well as calligraphers and illuminators who make their own paints and ink from pigments.
Sixteen years ago in June of 2003, the National Museum of Australia launched its travelling exhibition “Rare Trades.” It followed the stories of twenty-four people from across Australia who maintain the tools and hand skills of endangered classic and unconventional trades in a predominately digital age. Each of these stories emphasised the beauty of working with the hands to transform raw materials into beautiful and functional objects. Endangered Heritage Pty Ltd also recognises that need for traditional hand skills as without them, they would not be able to provide their quality services.
Worldwide there are innumerable self-taught enthusiasts, Masters, National Treasures, Artists Guilds, Clubs, and Associations working to preserve skills at risk of being lost. Endangered Heritage hopes to bring the public’s attention to these groups.
The National Endangered Skills and Trades Show in 2019 was an absolute success. Over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of July, we saw around 2,000 on the Saturday and about 4,000 on the Sunday – many people returning with family and friends to share this rare opportunity.
Thank you to all of the Traders who participated in this inaugural event, many travelling from Melbourne, Queensland, and rural New South Wales, as well as those who spoke at the evening lecture series at the National Museum of Australia where the importance of apprenticeships in heritage skills for the future was discussed by a range of people.
In 2020, the National Endangered Skills and Trades Show hopes to be even bigger – with greater interest being expressed by many other traders wishing to connect with interested individuals and hopefully pass-on their skills and knowledge.