Geoffrey Hannah: Never a Less Likely Bloke: From Relinquished Child to Renaissance Man  by Meg Heggen

‘Let’s gather up the shavings of my life from the workshop and begin.’
Geoffrey Hannah: Never a Less Likely Bloke: From Relinquished Child to Renaissance Man  by Meg Heggen

Recently, I visited the Bungendore Wood Works Gallery (Bungendore, NSW). There are many beautiful works there by talented woodworkers and I especially enjoy the pieces made from Huon Pine, from Blackwood or from Jarrah. But most of my time, on this visit, was spent admiring the magnificent Hannah Cabinet. The Hannah Cabinet was made by Geoffrey Hannah over a six-year period. According to information on the Bungendore Wood Works Gallery website, the Hannah Cabinet was made using 34 different Australian and international timbers, 4 species of shell and 17 varieties of precious stone. The Hannah Cabinet has beautiful and extensive marquetry inlays on 18 doors as well as on, and in, 140 drawers.

The Hannah Cabinet is magnificent. And as I was walking around, admiring the work (and wishing I had $A1.5 million dollars to buy it and somewhere to display it), I wanted to know more about the man who created it. Who is Geoffrey Hannah, and how did he come to create such a beautiful cabinet? What other work has he done?

Displayed near the Hannah Cabinet were copies of Meg Heggen’s book. Clearly, my starting point.

Ms Heggen covers Geoffrey Hannah’s life, through a series of his recollections. The book contains an interesting mixture of biographical information, of information about his woodworking, of life with his wife and family. Reading it feels like having a yarn with the man himself: chatting about his life, experiences, setbacks and successes. I’d love to meet him and his wife Rhonda! While this book is more about the man and his life, it does contain some black and white photographs of his work and has prompted me to find out more about the pieces he has made.

Geoffrey Hannah is a Churchill Fellow, a world renowned artisan and craftsman of exquisite cabinets. He lives and works in Lismore.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

See the magnificent Hannah Cabinet on the Bungendore Wood Works Gallery website.


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