This project was commissioned in 2017 on behalf of Lendlease, the multinational construction giant who had developed the suburb. They requested a series of vertical, carved poles with motifs, decks and balancing beams for kids to climb on – and to fulfil the council requirement to provide green spaces as part of the development.

Again, Stuart Newton and his crew worked closely with us and Frank Cutajar also worked on the team sanding and defining the images on the totems. The balancing beams allowed kids to make their way through the poles and up to the small decks that floated on the carved totems. We used vertical slabs of milled hardwood for the first time to create little nests (or pods) of interest on the decks and we placed low stepper logs to allow kids to get through to each nest at different points. If you look closely at the photos, you will see the various sanding marks where we worked hard to minimise the splinters in the hardwood. Kids love to hug poles, bless ’em, but it’s not so nice when the poles bite back. The decks were built from mod wood rather than hardwood though, so not only would they be low maintenance, but smoother.

We laser cut a variety of native local animals to incorporate among the totems. Yabbies (to represent the river creatures found in the nearby Nepean River), wallabies, cockatoos and an emu were all fixed to the tops of the totems in random places. We made bespoke steel caps that were hammered into position and fashioned over the tops of the vertical totems to finish them off neatly. Frank worked some magic on one of the poles and added a very cool snake to the menagerie, also representative of the local wildlife! We worked around other contractors who built the softscape, timber sheep and cubby house.