Students transforming local timber

14 Nov 18


In today’s digital and plastic age, it seems unlikely that an Iphone could be used with a wooden speaker, but students at Grant High School’s woodworking classes are making them, and a whole lot of other wooden items as part of their studies.

Moreover, in a time when more students are choosing technology classes, over traditional manual skills classes, the woodworking class at Grant is fast becoming one of the school’s more popular, thanks to a little bit of help from OneFortyOne’s Jubilee Highway Sawmill.

Prior to 2017, Grant’s woodworking program was in decline with few students enrolled. The school was struggling to find a supply of timber and so parents were having to pay extra fees for their children to learn the traditional art of wood working.

When Jubilee Site Sawmill General Manager Paul Hartung heard about the plight of the class, he was more than happy to get involved and supply the entire school’s woodworking timber needs for the year, free of charge.

“It was our pleasure to get involved with the school. Mount Gambier is a timber town, and we should be doing everything we can to help our children learn how to make things from wood. It is the ultimate renewable, and our region grows some of the best in the world”.

Grant High School’s Scott McCulloch knows how important traditional classes such as woodworking are for student’s overall wellbeing. “Not every student finds school easy. The wood working class gives students another experience and opportunity to do well in school, and once a child feels skilled in one area, that confidence will carry over into other parts of their lives.”

Now, two years on there are significantly more students picking up the subject, especially in Years 11 and 12.

“Woodworking class asks students to imagine a project and develop a plan to make it happen. There is no better way to inspire creativity and problem-solving than giving a student free reign in a room full of power tools to make something practical and beautiful from wood”, said Mr McCulloch.

For OneFortyOne’s Paul Hartung, the benefits of supporting the class are more than just helping students learn practical manual tasks, it is a way to ensure local students see a bright future in the timber industry.

“Our local timber industry is thriving, and we need young talented people to join it once they’ve finished school. The Jubilee Highway Sawmill offers lots of different career options, everything from finance, engineering, environmental science, and IT through to various mechanical, electrical, saw doctoring and trade apprenticeships.

“It would be great to think that one of the local students enjoying a woodworking class today, could one day become the General Manager of the Jubilee Highway Sawmill”.

OneFortyOne acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their deep connections to land, water, and community. We pay our respect to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations people today.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori communities have a strong spiritual connection between people and the land – the wellbeing of one sustains the wellbeing of the other. We strive to build meaningful relationships with iwi as tangata whenua (people of the land/region), to be responsible intergenerational kaitiaki (stewards/guardians) of the land where our forests grow.