First Australian Stone Festival to host British craftsmen

A previous Stone of Arc walling event

A number of British craftsmen working with stone will be involved in the inaugural Great Australian Stone Festival founded and hosted by Stone of Arc. The event which takes place in March in Wellington, New South Wales is the first traditional stone festival in the country and is the brainchild of professional waller, Emma Knowles who founded Stone of Arc in 2017.

Emma, who grew up in Yorkshire emigrated to Australia and it was there she discovered a love of dry stone walls. In fact, she is now one of only six Dry Stone Walling Association UK Advanced level female dry stone wallers in the world. In 2022, Emma joined forces with Jack McCallum a carver and waller from Yorkshire.

The festival will take place over 12 days and teams will work together constructing, instructing, sharing and socialising. Central to the festival will be the professional wallers, masons and carvers from the UK including:

  • Alan Rhodes – master waller 
  • Peter Isherwood, master waller
  • David Griffiths – master waller and designer
  • Ryan Johnson James – sculptor and carver
  • Simon Lumb – waller and carver
  • Jack McCallum – waller and carver 

Master waller Geoff Duggan and carver Ken Hutchinson from Australia will also join the crew.

The event will showcase traditional dry stone walling, carving and stonemasonry. Professionals and hobbyists alike will get the opportunity to work alongside the professional dry stone wallers, carvers and stonemasons in attendance, using ancient skills to construct unique dry stone sculptures that tell ancient stories of the land, all led by the Wiradjuri community.

There'll also be walling and carving competitions, and for the first time in Australia, several opportunities for aspiring and competent wallers to be examined at all four levels of the Dry Stone Walling Association (DSWA) Craftsman Certification Scheme as well as undertake professional training leading to employment.

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