New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published July 28th 2016
Worth the stop on the way to Batemans Bay
Bungendore Wood Works Gallery is located in the NSW rural town of Bungendore, 30 minutes from Canberra's CBD. This small town is a treasure trove to explore with quaint coffee shops, a traditional leather store, antiques, markets, pubs where bushrangers used to visit and historical buildings dating back to the 1800s. On the main street in town is Bungendore Wood Works Gallery, one of the main attractions for tourists travelling through the region on their way between Canberra and Batemans Bay. Each weekend there are cars lined up along the roads to visit the gallery and cosy café to the side of the iconic building.
With such intricate pieces of woodcraft on display, it is easy to see why this gallery is worth stopping for...
The Bungendore Wood Works Gallery was opened by Artistic Director and Founder David Mac Laren, who moved from New York to the small, rural town and had wanted somewhere to exhibit and sell his own wooden creations, as well as other local woodworkers in the area. In 1983 he opened his gallery across the road from the current building, before moving into these larger premises in 1994. He had hoped if he represented "the best possible woodcraft in the best possible way, then people will seek us out". And seek them out they have, with the gallery known throughout the whole region for its quality, workmanship and style.
The impressive Bungendore Wood Works Gallery. Source: Gallery website
As you walk around the spacious gallery, everything has a price so you can take home a handcrafted piece from this fascinating gallery. Prices range between $30 - $200 for some of the smaller items including wooden mice, letter openers, jewellery boxes, bowls, pens, sushi sets and kitchen utensils. Each are lovingly created and you can feel the love in the smoothness of each piece when you touch them, taking hours to create such a perfect finish.
Of course, the price is then a lot higher for the sculptures, furniture and creative pieces that are at the back of the gallery. The price reflects the craftsmanship and time taken to make such perfect woodcraft and a piece bought from this gallery would be an heirloom to pass down through family generations. All pieces are one of a kind and would be a talking point in any home.
After wandering the gallery there is an exhibition area upstairs with painted artworks, as well as the popular Café Wood Works, which is located in a house attached to the gallery built in 1883. This cosy café is another drawcard for tourists driving through with its large interior, inviting ambience and tasty menu.
Whilst in Bungendore, ensure you visit the Wood Works Gallery for a visit to remember. Take your time in admiring the items on display, touch the smooth lines of the furniture and appreciate the talent of the creators. Although pricey, buying something from this gallery is a special gift your yourself or for someone who appreciates the beauty of wood. If you are after a traditional 5th Wedding Anniversary present made of wood, you can't find a better place to find the perfect gift. Whilst in Bungendore, also check out the other attractions this town has to offer, to make the most of your visit.
With such history and character, ensure you stop next time you are driving through on the way to the coast. You are sure to find something that stops you in your tracks and makes you wonder how such beauty can be carved from wood...
...such as this. Mother and Child by Gareth Graham