About The TimbermillTimbermill Studios - Bulli
The Timbermill Studios – a unique creative space in the northern beach suburbs of Wollongong
Timbermill Studios is a unique creative space in Bulli’s transformed iconic timber mill, housing various artisan studios, small businesses, event spaces, band rehearsal rooms and the Timbermill Cafe, open to all.
Builder and Arts Entrepreneur Joe McGuinness purchased the mill in 2012 with a vision to create an arts hub for the local community where locals and visitors could work, meet, eat, drink and get involved in the arts.
Initially a working saw mill, Joe has gradually transformed it into a creative hub, making use of the buildings unique features and continuing the hand-made ethos of its history. With the creative input of its tenants, the Timbermill continues to be divided into studios and workspaces, with a flexible layout enabling a number of creative uses. Among the studio residents are well-known painters, ceramicists, potters, a glass artist, event stylist, architects, graphic designers, woodworkers and a surfboard maker!
With its outdoor green spaces and soaring industrial ceilings, the Mill is also a space for hire, where local government, businesses, charities and community groups hold events, classes, meetings, festivals, charity auctions and art openings.
History of the Mill
By the Illawarra Mercury, Photos by Greg Ellis
Joe McGuinness bought the old mill from Austrian-born cabinetmaker Gunter Grafenauer in 2012.
Mr Grafenauer operated Molloy Timber with his wife, Pamela, for 38 years, hanging up his tool belt in March 2013.
This marked the end of more than a century of sawmilling in Wollongong’s northern suburbs – but not the end of the timber mill’s place as a home for craftspeople.
Mr Grafenauer migrated from Austria where he had learnt his craft by restoring antiques and palace doors that were destroyed during World War II. He bought the mill in 1975 from the Molloy family, who opened a steam-driven sawmill called Molloy Brothers in the early 1900s.
In the first few years of operation, Molloy Brothers’ timber was delivered from the top of Bulli Pass by bullock wagon.
The timber business boomed in the late 1970s and into the ’80s, but was stymied by the 1990 recession.
For the last 20 years operating the mill, the Grafenauers ran popular woodworking classes, teaching hundreds of Illawarra people to craft beautiful furniture and children’s toys to their meticulous standards.
Mr McGuinness transformed Timber Mill Studios six years ago, when he acquired the property after running a similar space in Sydney for 15 years.
“We spent our time making studios and all the different spaces,” he said.
“There are 32 tenants now. Everything from kiln spaces out the back to what I call production studios for things like screen printing and heavy sculpture.”
“There are painting studios upstairs with photography at the front.
“In the middle we have some design studios for graphic artists and computer-based businesses.
“There are also warehouse spaces for homewares and fashion.”
In June 2018, the Timbermill Café had its grand opening. The cafe is the second joint venture for Joe McGuinness and chef Jamien Bannister. “Joe always knew he wanted to add a social and dining function to the Timbermill mix,” a spokeswoman for Timbermill Studios said. “But it’s taken time to find the right partner to team up with. “When Joe met Jamien and created Jose Jones, he knew Jamien would be perfect for the Timbermill.”
Upcoming Events & Timbermill News
8-9 December 2018
The Timbermill is having an “Open studio” weekend and you’re invited. The event is called the Timbermill Extravaganza! An open weekend for the public to come in and see what the artists have been up to.
15 November 2018
An exhibition to shed a light on mental illness using various mediums of art. Bring your kids, tell your family and friends, and come and enjoy a great community event that is for a great cause.
22 November 2018
These Illawarra storm scenes illuminate the wildness of nature and reveal how its elemental forces evoke excitement, inviting us to leave the safety of our own comfortable, familiar shores. 22 Nov – 2 Dec 2018.