Hands on bat making

March 23, 2018

Handiwork: Bat maker Clare Johnston will be in Merrigum for the museum's April 8 Heritage Day.

Every cricket bat has a story.

From a rough piece of willow into a fine, hand-crafted sword, bats go on a journey before they are even taken to the middle to take batsmen on adventures of their own.

That process will be on show at the Merrigum Museum’s 23rd annual Heritage Day, with accomplished bat maker Clare Johnston to detail her meticulous process.

While one of a plethora of displays at the day showing old skills, it is sure to be the main attraction for the area’s cricket fans.

‘‘It’s our 23rd annual heritage day — we demonstrate the old skills and there’s a display of collectables,’’ Merrigum Historical Society secretary Flo Halliday said.

‘‘This year our feature display will be cricket bat making, we’ve got Clare Johnston demonstrating how they are made.

‘‘She’ll be bringing all her tools and showing how they’re made the old-fashioned way.’’

A former cricketer, Johnston founded de Lacy Cricket, her business that hand-crafts bats to specification.

The business’ website states Johnson’s ambition is to continue ‘‘the time-honoured tradition of creating finely crafted bats that feel and play beautifully’’.

‘‘We’re really pleased to have that, it’s the first time we’ve had it,’’ Halliday said.

‘‘For any cricketers coming along, Clare will be able to take orders for a bat, however they would like it to be made.’’

Other displays at Merrigum’s April 8 extravaganza include wood turning, rope making, sheep shearing and butter churning.

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