One of our Hidden Treasures
I’m almost certain that our community knows of our beautiful Cook Park, though it seems that not as many are familiar with the Cook Park Guildry, which, true to its name, resides in Cook Park, closest to Summer Street. The Guildry is a unique handcrafts centre, right on our City’s doorstep.
Originally built for the Caretaker- Gardener (at the cost of 185 pounds) and for two generations the Bastick Family who lived in the little cottage. When it became vacant in 1973 it was decided to offer the use to various arts and craft groups in the district.
A Committee was then formed to manage the cottage and it was decided to call the new venture ‘Park Guildry’, meaning; the union of men and women in a trade or craft, to keep a high standard of work. Right from the very beginning, the community have been a driving force behind the projects of the Guildry, as it is run on a voluntary roster system by its 60-70 members.
Volunteer, Jenny Solling has been with the Guildry since the beginning, with a few years off here and there she found her way back in 2012 and is now the Treasurer.
Jenny explained, “I was working one day when a lady came in and was showing her grandchildren around, it’s also not uncommon for three generations of family members to come in and share their memories of this place with us. We even have some relations of the Bastick family come in and they actually tell us more than what we know about it, this place gives us a real connection with our customers.”
“We all love it here, it’s a chance for us to be social and meet a lot of people who walk though the doors, as well as sell a bit of craft.”
“We have people that come in and say the place hasn’t changed in 40 years,” Jenny laughed, “Though we are always getting new and different craft all the time. I think we are becoming more professional in how we present ourselves. We have been trying to keep up with technology, and now over 50% of our sales are made by eftpos.”
Favourites at the cottage include; cakes, slices and jams which we are told are very popular. Knitwear, jumpers, hats and caps, paintings, card making and much more! “We have a woodwork room where we have pieces from the local Men’s Shed, we also have items from Premibabes and floral work from Friends of the Community. Along with that, we donate each year to the Orange Show in the craft section.”
“We have people that come from Sydney, on their way to Dubbo or surrounds and they come in and tell us that they make this a regular stop. We even have a lot of overseas visitors, people from New York were here just the other day.”
“It’s funny, we seem popular to a lot of out of towners but there are local people who are still discovering us.” If you’re out for a stroll this weekend why not pop in and see what’s on display in the Guildry, we promise you wont regret it.