Little Big Fun
Two over-sized grasshoppers have taken up residency in Sancrox Reserve, Port Macquarie. It’s not the latest scientific discovery or even science fiction: it’s construction in the name of fun.
Port Macquarie Council commissioned the wooden grasshoppers as part of their program to introduce unconventional, educational play structures into playgrounds in the shire. After working with carpenter and outdoor furniture maker Gareth Owen to install some of his Big Garden Furniture, the council approached Gareth to make the grasshoppers.
“They sent me a picture of something similar in the UK,” says Gareth.
“I did an Aussie version. Originally the grasshoppers were going to be painted but because I made them out of Tallowood, a local hardwood, it seemed a shame to cover up the beautiful timber. So I persuaded the council to leave the grasshoppers in the natural wood. It has an organic feel, which is great.”
Gareth’s main business is making quality outdoor furniture.
“Wooden sculpture is new for me,” Gareth explains.
“I was a regular carpenter until I had an on-site injury and couldn’t build houses anymore. Being forced to adapt turned my skills to furniture making and now I’m branching out into play equipment, like the grasshoppers.”
“Ninety percent of our timber is locally sourced and solar kilned. All our materials are Australian made, even the fixtures, which come from Bremick, the last Australian manufacturer. All our off-cuts are sold for firewood and all our wood shavings are given to locals with horses or chooks or used in vegie gardens as its organic material. We have a near zero waste business.”
Gareth has been in demand making play equipment for schools, especially for what he calls ‘yarning circles’.
To keep the grasshoppers under control Port Macquarie Council have installed a large water dragon at Kooloonbung Creek Reserve…okay, it’s concrete, but the grasshoppers don’t need to know that…
Contact Big Garden Furniture on 0417 205 807, 20 Bosworth Rd, Woolgoolga NSW 2456