Year 12 students at Sydney’s Northern Beaches Secondary College Ali Turner and Katya Caterina with their awards for best overall design and craftsmanship and most creative design.

STUDENTS at Sydney’s acclaimed Northern Beaches Secondary College enjoyed the unique opportunity to use premium Tasmanian timber to create bespoke furniture as a part of their HSC Major project.

Year 12 students at the Freshwater Senior Campus Year enrolled in a specialised ‘Industrial Technology Timber’ course working with Tasmanian blackwood.

As part of the process, students learned various forms of technical woodworking skills, creating sketches and digital images and a full-scale prototype to grasp their concept and refine the making process.

Teacher and acknowledged furniture designer-maker Benjamin Percy said students learned about the properties of timber and selecting and justifying the most appropriate material for the project.

Students were encouraged to explore designs, styles and designers to draw inspiration for their projects. Putting their woodworking knowledge and skills to work, students created various pieces of furniture including chairs, cabinets, entertainment units, a desk and a guitar.

 Students presented their projects at an exhibition-style ceremony attended by representatives of timber supplier Britton Timbers. The company and the college’s Freshwater Campus have a long association; Britton Timbers supplies students with Tasmanian blackwood, Tasmanian oak and other species.

Britton Timbers director Shawn Britton presented students Katya Caterina with the ‘Most Creative Design’ Award for her Blackwood pod chair and Ali Turner for ‘Best Overall Design and Craftsmanship’ for her blackwood, Tasmanian oak and sassafras cabinet. 

“The level of precision and care that went into these projects was truly impressive,” Benjamin Percy said.

 “Using blackwood as the main material for their projects was a great experience for the students as they got to see how well it could be shaped, bent and finished.”

Shawn Britton said he was pleased to be a part of contributing to the development the next generation of designers.

“Giving the Freshwater Campus students the opportunity to use and experience Tasmanian hardwoods was a real pleasure,” he said.

“These students are our up-and- coming craftspeople and designers of tomorrow so they need to be exposed to various forms of materials.”

Northern Beaches Secondary College is an outstanding collaboration of five individual school campuses and partnerships with TAFE, Northern Sydney Institute and University of Technology Sydney.

The college caters for about 2900 students from Year 7 to Year 12. The school is operated by the NSW Department of Education.