Robin Johnson’s earliest memories of woodwork stem back to his childhood, where he was kicked out of his class for being “too small and weak” to complete his tasks.

But that moment came full circle many years later when Robin found himself teaching woodwork at the prestigious Hale School for some 30 years.

As a sixth-generation carpenter on his father’s side and a seventh-generation teacher on his mother’s side, Robin was destined to bring the two together.

Drawing from his own experience with woodwork as a child, Robin was determined to teach his students in a more empowering way.

“It’s very important in life to teach according to a student’s age and physical abilities,” he said.

“When I was teaching at Hale, I could control what was being taught. I wanted to build their confidence and their skills.

“As a result, Hale became the top school in Woodwork for five years running.”

“What I learnt very early in life is, when you retire, if you don’t keep yourself busy and do what you love, you shorten your life.” Juniper Rowethorpe resident Robin Johnson

Having retired some 15 years ago, Robin’s love of woodwork has never faltered.

From tinkering around in his home shed to joining local men’s sheds, Robin continued to brandish the skills he had taught for most of his working life.

Moving into Juniper Rowethorpe’s close-knit retirement living community in Bentley in mid-2022, word got around about Robin’s talents, which led him to be invited to join the on-site residents’ shed.

With the help of fellow Juniper Rowethorpe resident Bill Henshall, the pair worked together to clean up the shed and quickly garnered a reputation as the ‘on-site’ handymen that residents could go to help fix or restore their furniture.

Running from November 12 to 19, WA Seniors Week aims to celebrate and acknowledge the contribution and value that older people add to our community.

Robin is a testament to this, showing how you can stay active, engaged and connected to your local community by continuing to do what you love.

He added that continuing his love of woodwork was key to keeping active and engaged at the age of 90.

“What I learnt very early in life is, when you retire, if you don’t keep yourself busy and do what you love, you shorten your life,” he said.

“So that’s why I like to keep myself busy and active with woodwork.”

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