The important role Saddlers and Tanners played in the early development of the Shoalhaven has been highlighted in a stunning new book.
Saddlers and Tanners of the Nowra District by well-known historical author Alan Clark and Peter Bindon was officially launched at the Nowra Museum on Saturday, November 30.
John Bennett OAM launched the book and spoke of the significant role saddlers played in his own family's history from his great grandfather and grandfather in the early days on the land through to his father, Olympian Merv Bennett, and to his own roles in equestrian, racing, and of course as ringmaster at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and locally the Nowra Show.
"The local saddlery often was the centre of the community," Mr Bennett said.
"They played an incredible role in providing equipment our early settlers needed and through to today, although there are far less in the profession, they still play a vital role in providing beautiful handcrafted items for the horse world."
Mr Clark paid tribute to his co-author Peter Bindon, for his expertise and knowledge of the industry.
"I was grateful Peter agreed to assist in this project, he was the last in the family line to work in this field, and has an extensive knowledge," Mr Clark said.
"While I am experienced at researching and profiling people from all walks of life, my knowledge of saddlery is negligible but Peter was able to provide first hand expertise and plenty of anecdotes."
Mr Bindon, who now lives in the Yass area, said he was delighted to be able to contribute to such an important part of local history.
"It was a pleasure and honour to be involved in the book and work with Alan," he said.
Saddlers and Tanners of the Nowra District takes us on a fantastic journey reliving some of the names involved in the trade in the past like James Armstrong, James Maxwell, the Lidbetters, James Howitt and Peter Bindon through to modern day saddlers still involved in the industry like Ian Lancaster and Paul Bradshaw.
Mr Clark thanked the Shoalhaven Historical Society for its ongoing support, Robyn Florance OAM, who was a tower of strength during the project, Gerri Walker who gathered photographs and images for the book and along with Robyn organised the brilliant display in the museum, and Neville Haines whose graphic arts skills to produce another excellent cover.
He also paid credit to neighbouring historical societies at Berry and Kangaroo Valley for their willing assistance
Saddlers and Tanners of the Nowra District is available at the Shoalhaven Historical Society's Nowra Museum on the corner of Kinghorne and Plunkett streets, Nowra for $22.