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.

Blacksmiths for a day at Rush Ranch

  1. Routine landscaping last year led to a Norwegian man inadvertently uncovering extremely rare Viking Age artifacts. When Leif Arne Nordheim pulled up flagstones from his lawn, he revealed a rusty iron blacksmith's hammer and tongs. Upon discovering a 
  2. At 10:30 a.m., with few visitors at the ranch but many expected by noon, King took a break to tell how he ended up at the blacksmith shop, with its dirt floor and vintage tools stacked or hanging here and there, and became willing to learn the
  3. Blacksmith Rob Flurry begins his forging method by heating a piece of metal during Gladys City's Cowboy Ruckus event on Saturday, April 20, 2013, at Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown in Beaumont. Photo taken: Randy Edwards/The Enterprise.

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