WA is Experiencing a Blacksmith Boom

Like air fans the flames of a forge, contemporary popular culture is breathing new life into the ancient craft of blacksmithing.

Some of the highest-grossing TV shows and video games in recent years have been set in medieval fantasy lands where blacksmiths are a common sight.

The reality TV show Forged in Fire features blacksmiths competing to make bladed weapons.

Members of the Blacksmiths’ Association of WA follow YouTube accounts dedicated to the craft. It is based at Claremont Showground, where the members run an exhibition during the Perth Royal Show.

Showgoers might be familiar with the distinctive “clang, clang, clang” that rings out from the eastern side of the main oval.

President Richard Johns was pleased to report membership had risen sharply partly because of an influx of younger men and women.

“We’ve probably taken on 30 new people in the last 12 months,” he said.

“I think they’ve had an interest in it and they didn’t know they could do it in the middle of town.

“We’ve got a retired jeweller, school teachers, a chef, a fly-in, fly-out pilot. We’ve got people from all sorts of trades.”


George Car, 63, is a retired academic who discovered the association at the 2016 Perth Royal Show.

After a career in biomedical sciences, he wanted to create things with his hands.

“I saw this and I thought, ‘This is it’,” Mr Car said.

“What I really liked about it was that it was quite physical work for me which I’ve never done before but in addition to that there’s an awful lot of skill.”