Women forge ahead in blokey blacksmith world

A Bundoora women's group called Blacksmith Doris , started six years ago, is thriving, with up to 15 members meeting monthly to learn and hone their skills.

On September 5, they are holding an open day at the Australian Blacksmiths Association Victoria's barn in the Cooper's Settlement complex in Bundoora Park.

Blacksmith Doris co-ordinator Mary Hackett says people can observe the "Dorises" shaping metal into everything from chains to chisels, candle holders and garden chairs. 

Ms Hackett, a metalsmith, formed the group after she followed her husband Nick Hackett to the ABA barn to learn "fullering" or narrowing of metal.

She felt uncomfortable by the all-male environment but wanted to explore the craft and wondered if other women felt the same. 

Doris is a slang word for "woman". At the first group meeting, or Doris Day, in 2009, there were 21 people ranging in age from 13 to 70.

Now there is a dermatologist, a farrier, a call centre worker, teachers, artists, and jewellers.

Whittington Castle's a favourite haunt for fans of paranormal

  1. Prerequisite: Completion of Blacksmith 101. Instructors: Ray Neubauer and George Hughes. Cost: $175. while sipping apple cider or sassafras tea. Recipes included. Students should bring one cookie sheet, a rolling pin, cookie cutters and an apron.
  2. Sightings at the castle include a hooded figure under the castle gateway, a phantom blacksmith in his leather apron, and the faces of ghostly children, which are seen regularly peering out of an upstairs window. Legend has it they died when a cursed 
  3. Wright, of Troy, New Hampshire, clad in a thick leather apron and gloves, showed visitors how the blacksmith would take a piece of iron with a set of tongs, place it in the charcoal fire until it was red hot and then hammer it into shape on an anvil

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