Operating from the railway building in Kendall is possibly one of the area’s nicest surprises … a wonderful store run by the Kendall Craft Co-operative, which stocks everything from jams and preserves to wooden toys, linen and giftware.
Mavis Barnes, Secretary/Treasurer of the Co-op, explains how important it for this group of talented artisans to preserve the traditional handicrafts and provide a space for handcrafted items to be displayed and shared with the public …
What’s the history behind the Kendall Craft Co-op?
In the late 1980s, the fight was on to retain Kendall Railway Station as smaller stations were closed down. There was great public support to have it remain open, and from this victory the Kendall Station Craft Co-op was born in 1991. Its birth was the direct result of the quick action in 1988 to acquire the premises, arising from Mavis being a member of the NSW Board of Adult Education, which was negotiating with State Rail to take over unmanned railway station properties for community purposes.
The then Camden Haven Learning Exchange (now Community College) developed a project to retail the growing number of crafts being made locally and train people in the various aspects of handcraft marketing. This initial project was so successful, that its members developed their own registered Co-operative, which took over the lease of the premises in 1991 and continues to operate successfully, with many customers making a point of returning each year during their holidays in the district, together with a growing number of local customers and tourist coaches.
When and where do members of your craft collective regularly meet … and are new members welcome?
The board of Kendall Craft Co-operative Ltd meets monthly, and general meetings for all members are held quarterly. These meetings are followed by a shared lunch, providing an opportunity for fellowship and information/advice sharing.
The objects of the Co-operative include:
(a) to provide a retail outlet for art and crafts produced by members;
(b) to provide marketing and exhibiting information as a service to members;
(c) to develop the Co-operative’s ability to successfully market the products of its members;
(d) to promote generally the intrinsic value of traditional handcrafted products;
(e) to provide an organisation for the mutual support of local crafts people.
Crafts people are welcome to apply for membership, in return for which they agree to (a) provide craft for sale to the amount of not less than $50 per annum, and (b) provide voluntary labour equivalent to a minimum of one day (as determined from time to time to be shop opening hours) per four week period, in order to establish active membership of the Co-operative.
How important is it to your group to preserve some of the more traditional handicrafts, that may not be seen as often these days?
One of the main objectives of the Co-operative is to preserve and promote the traditional handicrafts. Over the years, members have included a blacksmith, screen printer, potters, woodworkers, leatherworker, jewellers, embroiderers, lacemakers, spinners and weavers, painters and sculptors, as well as a wide range of sewing and fabric craftspeople.
The Coop store currently operates out of the old Railway Building in Kendall. What facilities are available here?
The shop display area is contained in the space which formerly accommodated both the Railway Station Master’s office and the railway parcels store. In addition, the Co-op’s equipment and office files are located in the former railway storage shed.
Public facilities include an accessible toilet and parking. All the public areas, including the shop, are accessible to people with disabilities.
The building continues as a functioning railway station, with passenger trains on the main Sydney/Brisbane railway line, as well as a growing number of good trains on the national line regularly coming through.
What days/times is the Kendall Craft Coop store open?
The shop is open seven days a week from 10am ‘til 4pm, with the exception of Christmas and Boxing Days and Good Friday.
What types of products are sold in the store … and what are some of your best sellers?
A full range of quality handicrafts representing the skills of current members are displayed for sale, with home-made jams, preserves and confectionery being regular staples, together with wooden toys, cards, babyware, giftware, manchester and seasonal items.
What plans does the Coop have in place for 2019?
We are always looking to recruit traditional crafts people to extend the range of items on display for sale.
Where can we find out more info/contact the Kendall Craft Coop?
Further information is available every day of the week from the member on duty, finding us on Facebook (Kendall craft co-op) or by writing to P.O. Box 1, Kendall 2439.
Interview: Jo Robinson.
Group photo (hero) courtesy of Mandy Yeates.