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Whittling Away The Time

Doug Collins was born in 1954 in Ontario Canada. He moved with his parents to South Vietnam in 1956 where they remained until the late 60’s. he has vivid memories of watching some of the Vietnamese artists fashion marble at Marble Mountain near DaNang and he became fascinated with the idea of sculpture from an early age.

Doug and his family returned to Canada in 1967 where he completed his secondary education in Stoney Creek, a small village near Toronto. During this time he became active in the national canoeing programme attaining both ‘Master’ and ‘Instructor’ qualifications and teaching the sport to both children and adults in the summers. This lead to his building a number of canoes which in turn fired his interest in working with wood.

In 1973 his parents were again offered another overseas post, this time in Australia. Although Doug was scheduled to enrol in university in Guelph, he decided to defer for a year and accompany the family to Australia, purely out of curiosity, never having been there. He soon realised that having escaped Canada’s inhospitable climate, he had no wish to return to its unpleasant winters and so settled here permanently, becoming an Australian citizen soon afterwards.

He has worked in a number of industries since the early 1970’s including retail, outdoor adventure, administration and fifteen years in the automotive industry. He also attended Flinders University earning a degree in Psychology during this period.

Doug’s wife Elizabeth has suffered from severe adverse reactions to most chemicals for many years, becoming progressively more and more ill. Medical advice was to avoid the chemicals which in turn meant leaving the Adelaide metro area.

In 2000 they took the decision to retire and move to the small hamlet of Waitpinga on the Southern Fleurieu coast in an attempt to create a healthier environment for Elizabeth.

Doug soon discovered that the move to the country life was not all that he expected it to be. In particular, he missed the creative stimulation that his work had afforded him. He decided to pursue his old interest of woodworking, but found that the demands of traditional forms of this craft did not suit their new lifestyle. As a carer he needed to be on hand and close to home.