Geoff Roberts trained at the TSIT Launceston, 1973-76, under Norwegian Silversmith Ragnar Hansen. Liberally dispensed money was flowing into education at this stage, courtesy of the Whitlam Government, and the State Government was anxious to set up training courses that would produce graduates with some of the competence needed to work at a professional level.Ragnar had previously worked with potter Les Blakebrough at the Sturt Workshop at Mittagong, and at his best was an inspirational teacher.
Since setting up a workshop in Northern Tasmania in 1976, Geoff has exhibited widely, both within Australia and overseas, and has won numerous awards for his work.
We presently operate from a studio/workshop in Hunter Street, in the historic dock area of Hobart (see “Location”), and share a common sandstone wall, built in 1825, with what is now “The Drunken Admiral”, an iconic seafood restaurant. The precinct was redeveloped to encompass the Henry Jones Art Hotel, galleries, eateries, and apartments at the rear of what was once a bustling jam factory.
Kerry Roberts attempts to create chaos amongst the daily somewhat disorderly processes of running a small business, and eldest daughter Lucy Jones lends a hand occasionally, trying to introduce a little system into the processes (generally successfully!). Geoff and Jorge Pavez do all the benchwork – Jorge is a very resourceful and skilled goldsmith, one of five brothers who all did their initial training in their father’s workshop in Santiago, Chile. Jorge and his wife Maria have three gorgeous daughters, all studying here in Hobart.
Geoff is a qualified Gemmologist and Valuer, and a Fellow of The Gold and Silversmiths Guild of Australia. The Guild www.gsga.org.au was set up in 1988 primarily to establish a hallmarking system with some integrity in Australia, and to promote and encourage the concept of Excellence in Design and Manufacturing within the Australian Jewellery Industry.
Geoff and Kerry have lived in Hobart for ten years, and have 5 adult children. They did the hippy bit before that, in northern Tasmania, on 120 acres of land at Weegena, a district near Deloraine, nestling under the Gog Range, with the Mersey River flowing through. Work was only 20m across the garden at that stage, and a number of apprentices were trained in the workshop. It was an idyllic place to live, work and raise a family, but changed interests, educational needs and work patterns resulted in the move to Hobart.
Summer recreation mostly involves the Derwent River these days, as Geoff crews generally twice a week on a cold moulded Farr 38, which has a geriatric crew, most of whom are not allowed out of the cockpit, and a very competitive skipper, whose joints and eyesight arenʼt all they used to be but whose instincts are still very sound (doing alright so far this season, with two wins and a second). Twilight sailing on the Derwent on a Thursday evening is quite delightful, especially as the weather warms up, and weʼre even allowed a beer occasionally on a run!