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Lawrence Museum’s new resident blacksmith Don Shannon fires up the large ‘Buffalo’ forge in the museums Blacksmith Shop. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Lawrence Museum’s new blacksmith

Lynne Mowbray |

The Lawrence Museum has a new blacksmith.

Don Shannon from Ulmarra has taken on the role of blacksmith at the museum, after the previous resident blacksmith Larry Adams had to move to Wagga Wagga, due to family reasons.

Lawrence Museum vice-president Roz Jones said that before Larry left, he recruited Don to come and fill in (for him).

“We are delighted that Don has volunteered to come from Ulmarra on a Tuesday, to fire up the forge in the blacksmith shop,” Ms Jones said.

“Don has a lot of experience blacksmithing and his great-grandfather Thomas Shannon was the first blacksmith in Ulmarra in 1866.

“Thomas also served as a council alderman and was a member of the Ulmarra Jockey Club for some years.

“We put a sign up near the ferry (to let people know) when Don is here working and we get quite a few people just calling in to see him at work.

“We are absolutely thrilled that we still have a working blacksmith here and people can come and see the forge going and they can actually have their own pieces made and watch them being made.

“We have three forges here all different sizes – Don’s even brought his own little forge in – which is great for making the little things,” she said.

So if you’re looking for something different to do, why not drop in to the Lawrence Museum and see Don in action at the Blacksmith’s Shop.

The museum is open every Tuesday from 9am – 1pm and Saturday/Sunday from 1pm-4pm. Group/coach bookings for 10 or more people available outside of opening hours by phoning Lawrence Museum on 6647 7588.


Branding Irons have been used since ancient times to identify the ownership of livestock.

The branding iron is made up of a long iron rod with an identification symbol on the end which is heated before branding the livestock.

Ulmarra Don Shannon who is now the resident blacksmith at the Lawrence Museum, shared his family’s history of three branding irons or ‘brands’, as he calls them.

“I still have the three (cattle) brands at home that my great-grandfather made for my grandfather to brand his cattle and they are still in good order and they are still legal,” Don said.

“The family’s brands are a “C” back to front and an ”S” with a half diamond over the top.

“The brands are still registered and could still be used today, to brand cattle.

“Once they run out of registration they cannot be reused.

“All new brands now in each state have to have a certain number (for that particular state) incorporated in it (the brand) somewhere.

“I think NSW is a 2 and Queensland I think is a 7 – a bit like the phone (prefix) numbers for each state.

“These family brands that I have, were changed over to my father’s name in about 1946 and he changed them to my name before he passed on in 2009 and they’re still registered today, so I can still legally use them,” he said.

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