ABASA was formed in 2008 by a handful of blacksmiths and has grown considerably over the years. Our membership ebbs and flows and currently sits at 50+ members. In our early years, we gathered at one of our member’s forge at Morphettvale and held workshops and social days with our relatively small group. As we grew in numbers, we knew we had to expand our facilities.
The Penfield Sports Association came to the rescue, with a parcel of land on the western side of their grounds. Over the last few years we have worked hard to invest in a forge building and storage container to hold our gear and our workshops for our growing membership. As you would expect, with our current and increasing numbers, we have had to think bigger, and hence, we are about to erect a 15 x 7.5 meter building to have alongside our 6 x 9 meter forge building. This will allow us to have more equipment available and more room to move about safely while forging with bright orange-very hot steel.
Is this the end of our expansion plans? If the past is an indicator, then I’m afraid not. Blacksmithing has seen a remarkable resurgence among the public. The events we attend and demonstrations we provide, are testament to that fact. There is a huge interest by the public to the ancient craft. And there is an ever growing number of people very keen to have a try and learn the craft.
I’m pleased to say that we have a fantastic member group. Everyone is cheerful and friendly and most importantly, willing to pass on their knowledge to people new to the craft. We have members aged from 12 to well matured, with skills from dazzling to doggedly persistent to get it right.
And for new smiths, we hold a basic skills course over six nights to give you the skills required to know how to move the iron to your desired shape and what tools to use to achieve your results.
We have workshops at Penfield on the first three Saturdays and the last Sunday of each month. You get a whole days forging for $10 plus $5 for any materials you use. All you need to start is to be safely dressed and have glasses, hearing protection and good leather shoes. You will need a hammer and a pair of gloves as well, and we recommend at least a 900 gram engineers ball-pien hammer. As you progress you will naturally need more tools, such as tongs, punches and drifts etc. Luckily, we make these items as we need them or they can be purchased at reasonable prices. Down the track, you may wish to have your own forge at home. We can provide help in your choice of gas or coke powered forges. You can build your own or look out for second hand equipment.
ABASA members attend many events throughout the year, and the list is growing. We also attend a few country forges that we welcome our members to with open arms. This gives you the opportunity to forge for the day for the cost of getting there and buying your lunch. The forges we attend at Angaston and Mannum are steeped in history, and have original equipment in place. You can step back a hundred years and experience the atmosphere of the past and get a feel of what it would have been like to be the most important and respected tradesperson in the town.
Our final event of note is the ‘All Steamed Up’ event held every second year at Mannum on the Murray. In November 2016 we will be at Mannum over the two day event. We have our friends and colleagues from all around coming over to help us celebrate. You have to be there for that, no mistake
ABASA holds meetings monthly. They fall on the fourth Thursday of each month in the Convention Room of the ‘Elephant & Castle’ hotel on West Terrace in the city. The meetings start at 7.30pm. The meetings cover our previous months activities, our future plans and forth coming events. Come down early and have a meal and drinks prior to the meeting and introduce yourself. The friendly hotel staff will make you very welcome and provide a fantastic meal. After the meeting you can spend an hour or so chatting to other members in the front bar.
The objectives of the Association shall be to promote, preserve, and develop the Craftsmanship and Techniques of all the various disciplines associated with Artistic Blacksmithing to the highest standards possible.
Supporting these aims include:
a) To Provide means of communication between mature people with an interest in the craft of Blacksmithing, for the exchange of ideas, experience, techniques and information for their mutual benefit, by the publication of a regular Newsletter.
b) To Encourage a greater awareness of, and interest in the appreciation of the skills of Blacksmithing among Architects, Interior Designers, Art and Craft groups, and the general public, and to provide links between Blacksmiths and potential customers by means of Exhibitions, Demonstrations, and Publications.
c) To Promote and actively provide the opportunity for training in all the various aspects of Blacksmithing means of demonstrations, lectures, and special tuition sessions.
d) To Act as a representative body, in the interests of Australian Blacksmiths, locally, nationally and internationally.
e) To Undertake community service, providing these services are within the comfortable limits of time, talents and costs that the association and individual members can afford, in the context of the associations, purpose, objectives, rules and legal obligations
f) To encourage communication and goodwill among Blacksmiths of all Nations.
g) To co-operate with similar associations in every practical way at the local, national and international level with the interests of the association’s members and community
h) To ensure the association achieves the purpose and objectives by all possible legal means.