CRAFTSMAN: Marshall Langston will be delivering a leatherwork demonstration at Eidsvold Bush Spirit Festival on Saturday, June 1 at the RM Williams Bush Learning Centre.
CRAFTSMAN: Marshall Langston will be delivering a leatherwork demonstration at Eidsvold Bush Spirit Festival on Saturday, June 1 at the RM Williams Bush Learning Centre. Contributed

Spirit of the bush on show in RM Williams heartland

EIDSVOLD resident Marshall Langston, a regular face at the RM Williams Bush Learning Centre, has been working leather for about 10 years.

"I get a lot of satisfaction from it,” Mr Langston said.

He said bushcraft like leatherwork, while mostly a hobby for people these days, used to be an important skill in regional Australia.

"It's necessary in the bush as you can't always get into town,” Mr Langston said.

He buys his hides from Leffler Leather in Melbourne and has it shipped up to Eidsvold.

Hides are typically bought in sides, as in one side of a bullock.

"But the best leather on a beast is at the back end,” Mr Langston said, so he purchases what's known as double butts.

He turns these into belts, bridles, breastplates, reins and halters, many of which are on sale at the Bush Learning Centre.

Mr Langston even made a saddle once, under the tutelage of Mundubbera saddler Kim Jarmey.

He said it took him 10 days.

Mr Langston's demonstration at the Eidsvold Bush Spirit Festival on Saturday, June 1 won't take nearly that long, but you will still have the chance to see the skill which goes into leatherwork as Mr Langston creates a belt.

Leatherwork will be one of many bushcrafts on display at the festival.

There will also be blacksmithing by Martin Geddes, silversmithing by Lorraine Lindenmayer, performance horse and working dog demonstrations by Mundubbera's Leah Read, whipcracking (junior and senior), a lapidary demonstration, and bush poetry by Eidsvold's resident wordsmith Russell Plunkett.

Aside from bushcraft, country activities and entertainment on offer will include Cobb and Co coach rides, billy tea and damper, camp oven cooking, a Stockman's Challenge (junior and senior teams, register on the day), a performance by Blue Gum Farm TV for the little bushies, and a Q&A with local stockmen Ned Newman and Ronny Bligh.

Jackie Lindenmayer, president of Friends of RM, the group organising the festival, said although many of these crafts and skills had become divorced from their "original purpose”, they were still in the public consciousness as interesting hobbies.

This will be the first Bush Spirit Festival in about seven years and Mrs Lindenmayer said the excitement in the community was palpable.

Festival gates open at 10am at the Bush Learning Centre, and the event will begin with a performance by Eidsvold State School students at 10.30am.

Tickets cost $5 for adults, $2 for juniors.


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