Building a Town

Carpentry is one of the oldest trades and basic carpenter’s tools such as the saw, hammer, brace and planes have altered little in design in 2,000 years.  The development of ornate woodwork designs in buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries saw the manufacture of a variety of moulding and beading planes which were used for repairing the door and window architraves and door panels such as can be seen on the buildings in the streetscape.  A wood turning lathe was essential in a carpentry and joinery shop to produce the ornate table and chair legs of the day.  The advances of the 20th century have resulted in machines taking the places of many of the tools, but the quality of the 19th century tools remains unsurpassed.


Thomas Kenner, who emigrated from Scotland in the 1880s, was a prominent Burnie master builder 100 years ago.  He was responsible for many of the city’s more imposing late 19th century buildings.  Breckenborough, built for Emu Bay’s first medical practitioner, Dr. Joseph Armitage; Menai, built for Captain William Jones and the three-storey section of the Bay View Hotel were some of Kenner’s contracts. The treadle lathe displayed in the streetscape, used for creating stair banisters, verandah rails and table and chair legs, belonged to Thomas Kenner.