Vale The Timber Benders

Sad news has come through this month: Don O’Connor and Sue Ewart O’Connor were killed earlier this month in a tragic car accident, when they swerved to avoid a kangaroo on the Daylesford-Malmsbury Road.

I met Don and Sue briefly at one of the woodshows (when they were at the Flemington Race Course), having been very aware of the work they were doing with some historic (mid 19th century) equipment and old techniques to steam-bend timber.

They were the last dedicated timber bending industry in Australia, and they, and the knowledge they had of traditional techniques will be sorely missed.

5 Responses

  1. So sorry to hear of Don And Sue’s passing.
    I sold them the timber bending plant 15 years ago. Would hate to see the old gear go for scrap.
    Nigel Flynn ( Tasmanian Timber Bending Works)

    • So would a lot of us- can’t let old trades slip away. Would even make an interesting museum, if not a commercial operation.

    • Nigel

      What a sad to such a historic business hope someone picks it up.


      Peter and shirley Blake

      ORCV days feeling groovy days

      • Well I’ll buggered, how are you mate? It’s been a long time since those halcyon days, Im reliving them to some extent, for the last few years I’ve been collecting and restoring 100cu in monos , five of them and one tunnel about to hit the water.
        Great pity about Don and Sue, they were very genuine people with a real passion for the old bending plant.
        I hope both you and Shirley are keeping well,
        Kind regards,
        PS . Chris Twikler and I are heading to Goolwa for my 65th to participate in the Vintage rally, I’ve got plenty of spare boats and you’d be welcome to join us.

    • Hey there I have been planning to come to Australia to work for a couple of years now and I was hoping my first stop would be to Don and Sue, it’s a great shame these talented people have gone. Although I never met them I heard about them taking in volunteers and saw Don on a YouTube video and would have loved to have learnt this age old tradition in a different way. I am currently working for a steam bender in the UK whilst doing an apprenticeship in furniture making and will be looking for similar work when I get out to australia end of July

      Do you have any recommendations?

      Alysha Flack

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