Blacksmithing and Tinsmithing @ Sovereign Hill

On Saturday we visited Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonderlights exhibition, which was pretty wonderful. The weather was a bit windy and it rained a bit in the afternoon but nothing (nothing!) was going to deter me from visiting the blacksmith and tinsmith and seeing them in action.

I was fortunate in both respects and spent some rapturous moments observing the skilful craftsmanship involved in both metal turning pans, bells and candlesticks, and forging metal into hooks, coils and points.

As we were duly educated during the blacksmith’s demonstration, I am pleased to say that I now know the difference between white-hot, orange, yellow and black heated metals (the first is almost molten and ready for hot forging). And that a blacksmith is named such because the metals they work with – iron and the like – are categorised as ‘black’, while the metals a tinsmith (also known as a whitesmith) works with are considered ‘white’.

Lastly, being the fact-magpie that I am, I thought it was interesting to hear that, back in the days of the goldrush, all blacksmiths were farriers and visa versa, however, these days the two vocations have now separated so that while ‘all farriers are blacksmiths’, ‘not all blacksmiths are necessarily farriers’!

Feeling more intelligent? I know I certainly do 🙂

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