Some years ago I met Roy the Leura Bodger, and now we hail each other as old friends. I didn’t know much about bodgering so I looked in the Oxford dictionary where it is defined as “a person who makes or repairs something badly or clumsily”. Which I suppose is where the term “bodgey”, as in “I’ll bodgey something up” or “that’s a bodgey job”, comes from.
I should’ve asked my mate Mick earlier. Mick, the sage of Wisemans Creek, says bodgers were skilled itinerant wood-turners, who worked in the beech woods on the chalk hills of the Chilterns in England. They cut timber and converted it into chair legs by turning it on a pole lathe, an ancient and very simple tool that uses the spring of a bent sapling to help run it. A lot of very early Bathurst would have been built by bodgers. Funny what Mick knows.
Up on the Oberon plateau where I lived for a while they have badgers. Up there the early settlors were Irish who got the poor land, while the English got the good land down here. The Irishmen only knew badgers, not wombats, and the terminology is still in common use up there today, just as it is in Tasmania.
Anyway our picture is of Roy the Leura Bodger carrying out his heritage trade making wooden spoons and all sorts of other interesting stuff out of wood, and with many others keeping our heritage alive.
If you are a heritage artisan, or know one, please contact us about demonstrating at the 2024 Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail (firstname.lastname@example.org & FBk). Roy will be there along with over 100 other wonderful artisans, and thousands of people. It’s Bathurst’s premiere annual heritage event.
thought of the week……. “anyone can do a bodgey job, but it takes a skilled tradesman to be a bodger”
by a humble heritage advocate – September 2023