#42 – Curtis Canham

This week we meet Curtis, who makes, repairs and restores woodwork pieces. We met at his workshop and I got to see what a craftsman he is, as well as hear the obvious love for the area.

What brought you to the area?

We came from Sydney in 2000, looking for greener pastures. We came to the Bay with a thought of ‘if we don’t like it, we’re renting, we can move on. Shop different suburbs until we find a place we liked’.

Six weeks after arrival, walking our dogs on the esplanade one sunset and realising that we had found exactly what we hoped for. The bayside location, the friendly locals, the sense of community, the climate (although January/February humidity take getting used to).

Great selection of tools

Little things like buying the Sunday paper would turn into a 20min chat about where the fish were biting. We used to joke to Sydney friends it felt like we were living on the ‘Home & Away’ set but without the drama. We bought a house within 12 months and never regretted it.

Skills at the table saw

Do you have any interesting or memorable experiences in Wynnum that you would like to share?

There’s so many!

Simple everyday things that you really notice when you’re not from the area., like walking on the esplanade and losing count of the head nods or ‘g’days’.

Twenty years on and I remember this like yesterday. Day 1 of relocating to Wynnum, (we were renting a raised Queenslander on Tingal Road) and arrived in town, picked up the keys, met the truck and spent the day unpacking. That afternoon, ready for a break, we hopped in the car to have a location look-see, we turned from Tingal road onto I think it was Warra street and as we came up over the crest of the hill the open view of the Bay just unfolded in front of us. Luckily we had no traffic behind us because we sat in that spot for a good minute or two, just taking it in. That was our ‘wow’ moment, I guess. Whenever we have visitors from overseas we always start our little local tour from that same spot.

In terms of memories, as a dad to a young one at the time, I found myself as a resident Santa at the Montessori Pre School, that was always fun. The costume must have been especially convincing because even my then 3yo son didn’t recognise me!

Finishing a piece

I also spent some years with the Bayside Sea Scouts and that was a great experience. Becoming a cub leader and then a district leader I have happy memories of teaching cubs how to sink a canoe (there’s a back story there, haha!) taking cubs fishing off the jetty, touring the Southern Passage at manly, getting the cubs up in the air in a Cessna, camping and hiking. A personal favourite memory was leading the cubs on the 100 year Anzac Day dawn service at Wynnum, that was quite an experience with such a huge crowd! Those kids always made me proud and the relationships built with families during that time are still with me today.

Being in the Bayside has given me the lifestyle I wanted. Being part of a community. Buying my own home. Giving my son a great childhood. Taking a boat out on the bay early in the morning. Starting a business doing something I really love. I really believe the Bayside is a great place to raise a family. Great schools and local facilities. Idyllic mornings at the whale park, late summer afternoons at the wading pool, fishing off the jetty, cafe lunches along the waterfront. I love that there are more diverse options for eating out than there were twenty years ago and if we want to meet friends for a drink in the evening, we have more options on where to go. The Bayside has a lot to offer people, the waterfront, the bay, the parks, the markets. What’s not to love?

Great selection of aged timber

What would you love to see in Wynnum?

I think Wynnum is growing in a positive way and on the whole, is supportive of small businesses. I would like to see the town centre more lively after 2pm on a weekend, I like to spend my money with local businesses and am hopeful the new cinema will help with that. I would love to see a pier or jetty have a take on an old fashioned family friendly spot on the waterfront with pier lights, ice creams, maybe a carousel or other fun fair activity. It would be great to see more access to the islands from Wynnum/Manly or close by.

I remember when I first came to Wynnum there was a huge deal about the Spring Parade. I know it had adverse weather for a few years running but I’d love to see the return of the Spring Parade, down Bay Terrace.

The workshop is a happy place!

Any link to a website that you would like to share?

Our links are:

Who or What would you like me to cover in future posts on When in Wynnum?

People with heart and who are building the community for the future. We have some great stories here in Wynnum, fine characters and a lot of quiet achievers.

If you’re looking for a great group, I’d suggest the Bayside woodturners club. Grab a coffee and settle in for some yarns.

Obviously being a furniture restorer I have an interest in history. Nazareth House and the shire clerks office would have an interesting story. I’m interested in how WW2 and subsequent conflicts played out in Wynnum. I know we have a strong number in local Nashos, a catch-up with a couple of them would be interesting

The old and the new shed dogs

Thanks for Curtis and his wife Sonya for hosted me at their workshop!

One Reply to “#42 – Curtis Canham”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.