Hand Tool Preservation
Association of Australia Inc

what happens when you hold a tool - your fingers form an intimate bond between you and the tool. It is a marriage of intellect and an inanimate object. Suddenly the tool becomes alive and performs...

R.J. DeCristoforo - Handtool Handbook for Woodworking (USA 1977)

HTPAA - The Beginning

The idea of an association of tool collectors was first floated in 1982 when a meeting was held at The Stanley Works in Nunawading at the instigation of Bill Moss, the Manager of Educational Services at Stanley Tools. Further discussion and planning followed and the first formal meeting of the Hand Tool Preservation Association of Australia was held on the 29th of November 1983. Initial membership was 13. Present membership has just topped 400 - approximately 300 of whom are Victorians and the remaining 100 are from other states and territories or from overseas.

The aims of the Association are to encourage the preservation and documentation of hand tools, to increase knowledge of their use and of the trades and crafts that used them, and to share this knowledge and co-operate with other individuals and organisations with similar interests. Membership of the Association has always been very mixed. There are people from a variety of trades and crafts, whose predominate interest is the acquisition and use of quality tools and there are a wide variety of people from less practical backgrounds to whom the appeal of collecting tools has arisen from family connections, historical interest or simply an aesthetic appeal. A common story is the inheritance of a father's or grandfather's tool chest that triggered the interest.

An Active Organisation

From its earliest days a major activity of the HTPAA has been to co-operate with the National Trust to restore, catalogue and display the tools of The Thomas Caine Tool Collection, an extensive, superb collection left to the National Trust (Vic.) in 1968 by a Melbourne tradesman and collector. The HTPAA has also developed its own collections of tools with particular emphasis on Australian made tools and ephemera relating to tool manufacture and sale.

Over the years it has assembled a reference library of around 350 related texts and over 300 tool catalogues. As part of its close working relationship with the National Trust and in light of its avowed aim to increase knowledge about the manufacture and use of hand tools, the Association frequently mounts displays of tools from the Thomas Caine Tool Collection, from its own collections and from member's private collections. Members often demonstrate the use of these early tools and foot-powered woodworking machines. These displays have been set up in museums, community libraries and other public places. The organisation has also displayed and demonstrated at many Working With Wood Shows held in Melbourne.

The Association holds six General Meetings per year, usually addressed by an invited guest speaker with expertise in a particular related field. In recent years, subjects have included surveying instruments, early pedal machines, types of axes, the repair of clocks, Aboriginal tools, miniature carving and vintage aircraft restoration.

Three tool sales per year allow for members to acquire new additions to their collections, while others are able to sell off unwanted items. Approximately 50 heaped tables of tools, from rough $1 chisels to $2,000 Stanley #1 smoothers, ensure that everybody's needs are met. The Saturday evening of each sale is for members only, while the Sunday is open to the general public. Overall attendance at these regular sales averages several hundred. Since its inception in 1998, a Biennial Conference has ensured that the Association continues to undertake in depth research and the spread of knowledge about all aspects of tool use.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee of the HTPAA Inc. is elected annually and the term of office is for the financial year, January to December.

Please use the contact form below to contact the approriate Office Bearer.

For the year 2016 the Committee comprises:

  • President - Norton Truter - email:
  • Vice President - Warren Hewertson - email:
  • Secretary - Charles Ronosulistyo - email
    Snail mail: HTPAA, C/O PO Box 16, Mount Waverley Business Centre, Vic 3149, Australia.
  • Treasurer - Richard Bonnett - email:
  • Membership Secretary - Mick Dowling - email:

Additional Committee Members - Michael Dowling, George Radion, Gil Rogers and Vito Trifilio

The Executive Committee meets bi-monthly (refer Calendar).

Other Office Bearers

Publications Committee - Graeme Plaw, Kevin Chamberlain, Ian Stagg, Warren Hewertson, Norton Truter, Ian Oxenbould & George Radion.

  • Editor Tool Chest - Graeme Plaw - email:
  • Editor Sharp Edge - Dick Lynch - email:
  • Editor of e-newletter "Close Shave" - Mick Dowling - email:
  • Editor Spanner & Wrench Newsletter - George Radion - email:
  • Program Director - Richard Williams - email:
  • Curator International Collection - Ian Stagg - email:
  • Curator Australian Collection - George Radion - email:
  • HTPAA Librarian and Curator Reference & Ephemera Collection - Peter Dickson - email:
  • Project Leader AAADA Show: Mike Preeston - email:
  • Enquiries & Information Officer - Mick Dowling - email:
  • Sound Recording - Gil Rogers - email:
  • Webmaster - Ian Oxenbould - email:

General Meetings

These are held on the 3rd Tuesday of odd numbered months: January, March, May, July, September and November; they commence at 7:30 PM.

Annual General Meeting

This is held in conjunction with the March meeting.

Meeting Venue

Box Hill Community Arts Centre, 470 Station Street, Box Hill, (cnr Station & Combarton Streets), Melbourne, Victoria.

The HTPAA thanks the Whitehorse City Council for its generous donation in subsidising the cost of the General Meeting Venue.

There is generally a presentation on the chosen topic by a member of guest speaker. Upcoming speakers are listed in the HTPAA Calendar when arrangements have been finalized.
Recent meetings included a talk on Aboriginal Tools and Miniature Carvings. The September meeting is traditionally reserved for members' Show & Tell session.
Each meeting we have a "Whatsits" session, where members bring along strange and unknown objects / tools for possible identification by those present.

The HTPAA Library is available to members at general meetings.

We also swap and sell tools, exchange advice and ideas, and display recent acquisitions. The extensive HTPAA Library is available for loans to members during general meetings.

Visitors are always welcome.

  • Promote the preservation, study, documentation and understanding of hand tools and the skills employed in their use.
  • Encourage interest in and better understanding of crafts and early industries in which hand tools were used.
  • Discover, identify, classify, document, preserve & exhibit hand tools. In particular, special efforts are to be made regarding the documentation and preservation of Australian-made hand tools.
  • Share this knowledge and understanding with other interested persons and museums, pioneer villages, the National Trust and similar institutions.
  • Accomplish these aims in a spirit of good fellowship.

Next Tool Sale

The next Tool Sale is on Sunday 8th July 2018 9.00 am to 12.30 pm at St Anthony's Parish Hall 164-168 Neerim Rd (corner Neerim & Grange Rds), Carnegie
Melway Ref. 68 F4 or see the map here. For more information see the Tool Sale page.

Go to top