It’s a craft that’s been in Australia probably since the First Fleet arrived 220 years ago.
And last weekend, it was demonstrated in all its intricate finery by the experts at the Australian Plaiters & Whipmakers Association Plaiting Championships.
Twenty-one exhibitors went to the Glen Innes Show Ground from all parts of NSW and Queensland, with 69 entries considered by the judges.
The skill of leather plaiting demands both nimbleness of finger and an eye for a beautiful object. Those who do it best demonstrated the craft – or is it an art?
And there was a competition where whips were judged mostly on their effectiveness – how they cracked, was there a recoil, how did it fall on the ground? Half the marks were for performance and half for craftsmanship.
The event was also about plaiting leather into belts, hat bands or dog leads. They demonstrated the Turks head knot.
The organisers said it was also about “promoting and preserving the craft of plaiting and whipmaking in Australia”. They felt the event had been very successful.