The once thriving hobbies at risk of being lost forever

John Krook is experienced in wood turning and wants others to get involved.
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With busy schedules and technology at our fingertips, fewer people are taking time out to enjoy once popular pastimes.

Penrith is still home to groups that enjoy traditional hobbies, and they are calling for new members to ensure they stay alive for future generations.

While sadly the local squash courts have closed and stamp collecting has lost its appeal, the Caring Hearts Community Quilters Group have been making quilts for charity for the past 20 years.

Meeting twice a month, group member Margaret Collier said they cannot go on forever, with the average age of members being 70-years-old.

“I used to work in a fabric store, and I would see young girls buying fabric to make stuff, but our 14 members are all older, so we’ve had to stop things like our airings, but we would definitely welcome younger members to join,” she said.

Margaret Collier remains passionate about sewing and quilting. Photo: Melinda Jane.

“Sewing, in general, is a good skill to have and even better when you can say you made the finished product at the end, plus you meet wonderful people through quilting groups and shows.”

Tom Godkin, who runs a free chess club at Penrith RSL every Wednesday night, said he would encourage anyone who likes a challenge or wants to learn a new skill to join.

“We are a small club, only about six people a week that are all over 50. Occasionally we get the odd primary school kid who wants to learn but often they don’t like playing with adults, so only come once or twice and never return,” he said.

“I know lots of people who know how to play chess but don’t go to clubs or competitions. I would encourage them to expand their horizons and challenge others as this is the main way to improve your game, along with being a fun social activity.”

Tom Godkin is hoping for a chess revival.

The Ornamental Turners Group of Australia, which has 15 members, meet every Wednesday at Luddenham Showground and are also trying to keep their hobby alive.

Group President John Krook said it is recommended that people who want to try, have basic skills in wood turning to begin with.

“Ornamental turning is a step up from plain turning, so to have some knowledge and experience is better as the attachments used can get complicated,” he said.

“It doesn’t have a big fraternity, even on a worldwide scale, so we don’t want it to die out.”

John Krook is experienced in wood turning and wants others to get involved.

If nothing else, these groups are proving that not all hobbies have to involve phones or technology.

So whether it’s the joy and feeling of accomplishment associated with sewing, the challenge of chess or the uniqueness of wood turning, perhaps it’s time to broaden your horizons.

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