Chris spent his formative years growing up on the North West Coast at Burnie and Ulverstone and moved to Hobart in 1980 to undertake a Bachelor of Education, majoring in “Craft in Education”.
In 1988 Chris applied for a Tasmanian Education Department Travelling Scholarship to study Fine Craftsmanship and Design at Ryecotewood College in Thame, Oxford, London. The College was situated in the heart of Oxfordshire in a small market town.
This was a significant adventure in Chris’ life and he returned to Tasmania in 1990 with new perspectives, attitudes and ideas in order to teach Materials, Design and Technology. He has taught at St. Patrick’s College (1983), Brooks High School (’83-’87), Elizabeth College (’88), Claremont College (1990-2009), New Norfolk High (2010 onwards).
In April 1992 Chris bought The Oast House in New Norfolk. He writes, “The Oast House held strong family connections, with his father Keith and grandfather Rupert, both hop growers. Initially, Chris was filled with a great deal of trepidation and excitement as he walked around the building and surveyed her raw and rustic appearance.
Alongside his wife Kaye, a primary school teacher with a love of history and art, they have worked to create both a family home for their three children, and to maintain an architectural treasure. (The Oast House Building Conservation Report 1983 states, “It represents an agricultural heritage, cultural and social values and building and construction practices of the 19th century that need to be preserved for future generations.”)
The Oast House has provided Chris and his family with the opportunities to develop, to foster and now to share their love of history, timber technology, beautiful craftsmanship and the use of luxuriant materials.
It is hoped that the establishment of an educational / tourism attraction will provide the Derwent Valley with an iconic tourism experience for visitors and underpin an economic revitalisation of the building.
The Derwent Valley School of Creative Woodwork was established in 2015.