the society of arts & crafts of nsw . 1919 - 1941


the society of arts & crafts of nsw . history extracts


The Society was affiliated with sister societies in Melbourne, Tasmania and Brisbane and another window for our displays was provided by the Tourist Bureau. This concession was available annually until 1919. Quarterly displays now replaced monthly shows and a more harmoniously arranged Annual Exhibition took the place of workshops.


A nature study circle was formed, with the idea of gathering material as the basis for design, and well attended excursions were arranged. A photographic circle and a design circle were also initiated, but all had to give way to war work the following year. Another change of premises took place in October, with the new location being officially opened at a Christmas sale.


A design competition was arranged in conjunction with the annual exhibition.


In the Waratah or Telopea was adopted as the badge and emblem of the Society. The hours at the depot, to cope with growing demand, were extended until they were almost the same as most retail shops.


The first Annual Exhibition to be held in the Art Gallery of the Department of Education was opened in October. This gallery was built as a result of a deputation to the Government by many arts and crafts societies in 1909. The Society was granted exhibition space, free of cost since completion in 1915.


Part of the 1916 exhibition receipts was allotted to the Red Cross for soldiers' craftwork.


Business increased and larger premises were required. An assistant secretary was soon engaged to help in the new depot.

1918, 1919, 1920

Our history book has little information to cover these years, except that in 1920 premises were changed again, and better situated window spaces were available. The record resumes in 1921.


No records are available for 1921.


The new rooms acquired in 1920 were sublet to members as a classroom. Although expenses had increased and the bank balance was depleted by the cost of shop fittings for the new depot, increased sales soon led to the engagement of a junior assistant.


An exhibit, valued at £250 was sent to The Exhibition of Home & Industries Association, London. Good sales were made and by special request three handwoven scarves were sent on to the Women Artists' Exhibition held at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.

An honour roll, in book form was executed for Armidale Cathedral, illuminated on vellum and bound in blue morocco leather, with silver repousse, set with black opals.

1924, 1925

The records for these years are not available.


One more move was made in this year, at long last a room with a street window in the heart of Sydney. The Society was to remain at these premises, until 1936.


The Society's 21st anniversary was celebrated, and it was decided that with ever increasing activity, it was necessary to form the Society into a limited liability company, functioning as a not for profit organisation.


By mid 1928, activity associated with the company's formation was well under way.

1929, 1930

After nearly two years' hard work, a Certificate of Registraion was granted by the Assistant Registrar of Joint Stock Companies on the 20th December 1929.


The Society's 25th anniversary was celebrated in August 1931 and a Commemorative Historical Sketch was compiled and wholly produced by members.


The Annual Exhibition was once again held in the Art Gallery of the Education Department (this facility had been granted to the Society since 1916) and the Trustees of the National Art Gallery and the Curator of the Technological Museum bought examples. Representative collections were exchanged between the Arts and Crafts Society of Victoria. Programmes of lectures were prepared, and weekly broadcasts on 2UW (which had begun in 1930) were continued.

1933, 1934

Monthly lectures and weekly broadcasts continued.


A loan exhibit of 'Native Craftwork of Oceania and Australia' from the Australian Museum was shown at the Annual Exhibition.


The rent for the Society's central Sydney rooms was doubled, and the decision was taken to move, yet again. The English Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society sent a collection to the Annual Exhibition.


At the 1937 Annual General Meeting, it was passed that the sale of members' work be discontinued and only a Club Room be maintained and exhibitions held. The Sydney Handloom Weaving School allowed the Society to use their address, hold meetings and house the Library and furniture until a room was rented from the Kindergarten Union, where meetings and small exhibitions were held.


The Society was invited to arrange an exhibit in the 150th Anniversary Pavilion at the Easter Show, and the English Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society extended an invitation to participate in their 50th Anniversary exhibition in London. Twenty eight members were represented and a number of articles sold.


Yet another move was made to new rooms. A War Service Circle was started which met and worked together until the end of the war. Local Work Circles were also organised, and altogether over 2000 articles were made and distributed by 1945. Later, a Camouflage Netting Circle was formed and members worked at the Papier Mache Centre for the Red Cross Society.


The Queensland Arts and Crafts Society sent an exhibit to the Annual Exhibition. The Society's address changed yet again.


The Red Cross Society appealed for volunteers to teach remedial craftwork in Military Hospitals. Society members joined in, also instructing Army nurses and teachers. These services were provided to the Red Cross until the end of the war.


our history, next 1942 - 1971