As the world modernized and science advanced, people saw a significant change in how things were done, such as using tractors instead of bull carts, using machinery for building houses, and printing machines that replicate anything you want. Amid this modernization, the world also lost a few things along the way in the name of advancing and upgrading. One of these things happens to be blacksmithing which was considered an important role back in the day but now, you rarely get to hear about it. However, it seems like this ancient skill is making a comeback after all those years, not in the sense of a career but the sense of a hobby. Blacksmithing is facing a revival and renewal as hobbyists and homeowners opt for that custom-made metal.
Back in Time
The art of blacksmithing has been around for longer than you think; it dates back to 1500 BC. It consists of heating metal rods and melting them to mold them into different shapes for use. This process included heating the metal to a melting point and then shaping it by repeated pounding, such as swords, tools, arrowheads, gates, and more. Just by the sound of it, you can tell that it is an old activity, but in southern Queensland, the Killalea family has been working to revive it.
Blacksmithing has been a part of this Queensland family for more than a generation, which is why when Leighton Killalea was only ten years, he started his journey to become a blacksmith, and he started experimenting at his great-grandfather’s shop in the south of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. He stated that he is mostly self-taught and learned about blacksmithing on a charcoal forge and ended up having a great time. In the beginning, he didn’t have a clue about what he was doing, but he is grateful that he has managed to get away without seriously injuring himself.
It’s A Family Thing
Now, Killalea is experienced and has a unique skill set which allows him to use the same tools that were used back in the day to create modern-day masterpieces. He shared that he has been using his great-grandfather’s tool, which is a great way to honor the departed and the family tradition. Leighton talks about the concept of Blacksmithing and how the idea behind it is to repair equipment and make your gear from scratch. His handiwork can now be seen and observed at Toowoomba's old courthouse.
Leighton Killalea’s ambition and enthusiasm to keep blacksmithing alive has resulted in him gaining quite the recognition as he gets a lot of commissioned work from all across Australia and even from states like Japan.
So, what do you think of this revival of Blacksmithing? Would you be interested in a hobby like this?