Wood Days – A Reflection

In this article, written in 2007, Rod Shepherd describes the very successful “Wood Days” that have contributed so much to CIKA’s fundraising efforts for many years.

For the past ten or twelve years my sister Christine and her husband Andrew have held the Old Time Wood Days in early November on their bush block at Milltown, about ten minutes north of Heywood, in South West Victoria.  The weekend arose from Andrew’s passions for working horses and collecting ‘old stuff’. What started out as a family weekend soon developed into an ‘open house’ annual event comprising old time displays, both static and live, where other collectors, restorers and users of ‘old stuff’ could get together and talk and talk and talk and talk…

My own family lived interstate for a period of time but, whenever it was possible, we returned to Milltown. It was always the highlight of our visits to the area when this coincided with the Old Time Wood Weekend. To catch up with family and friends in such a relaxed and unChristmas, unWedding, unFuneral type of gathering was great, and now, the diverse range of people who gather at this spot every November do so to support CIKA.

The sounds and smells of the working horses, the cooking and preparation of the Saturday night ‘feast’, the sound of the drag saws and small steam engines, the constant murmur of intense discussions about the various types of axes and spanners, the memories which resurface with a viewing of old photos of the area, the sound of the ‘Harleys’ on the Sunday morning, the smell of freshly unwrapped damper, the sound of coins in pockets that will soon be in the hands of volunteers, the exchange of ideas on how it was done in the past and, best of all, being in the company of friends, this is what makes the Old Time Wood Days our family’s most eagerly anticipated weekend of the year.

My wife Lisa, son Will and daughter Lily all get involved over the weekend; helping out in whatever way we can. Lisa is selling cups of tea and coffee, helping out behind the produce stall and working to prepare the Saturday evening meal. Will is off, with Andrew’s permission, removing weeds from the bush with one of the old axes. His return at the end of the day is usually accompanied by complaints of blisters. Lil, with her cousins, is doing what girls do! For the past couple of years I have become the voice behind the public announcements and the roving troubleshooter.

“I didn’t know hard work could be so much fun!”
Happy smiles indicating that “a great day was had by all”.