Old School Trades- Blacksmith

Nestled in the rugged hills around Lithgow, in central west NSW is the almost-deserted State Mine.

The tower above the mine shaft still stands, and large, long workshops sit around the disused coal mine site.

In one of the old brick workshops, Phil Spark holds a long bar of steel and thrusts it into a glowing pit of coke pieces.

Sparks flare-up and the noise of combustion fizzes and hisses.

"Traditionally blacksmithing is about manipulating hot metal," said Mr Spark, with his prominent English accent.

"The reason it is called a blacksmith is the metal is black as it cools."

Originally from northern England, Mr Spark completed an engineering degree before moving to Australia in the 1980s, where he fell in love with forging. He's since been blacksmithing for over 30 years, and declares he's in 'paradise'.

Blacksmiths use a range of tools to do their work, including forges (a heating pit reaching up to 1,400 degrees Celsius), hammers, anvils, tongs, power hammers, and presses.

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