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  • circa 2004

    Boydy is a woodcarver, sculpture, fair-dinkum character and lover of Lambrusko, or Lambruska as he calls it. Heavy accent on the trailing 'ka'.

    He has a three story tree-house in his backyard banyan, complete with winch device to get beer supplies up and an 'empties' chute with a beautiful meander straight down into the recycling bin.
    He found an old oyster tender in the mangroves, discovered who had owned it, got salvage rights, salvaged it, fixed it up, and now takes visitors for joyrides from his backyard landing beside the banyan, up the creek and into the Tweed.
    Wife June looked at this wreck when he first got it and apparently said," it's a hunk of junk!" So Boydy painted that name on it! And gets salutes of well-wishing and cheers from the river side neighbours on a Sunday arvo as he captains his Hunk Of Junk.
    It's no ordinary boat! Looks more like a carnival float! Complete with wood carving adornments and sculptures from all sorts of found objects.

    Maori Ray is Jan's partner, a carpenter and carver of wood, looks like the proverbial 'wild man', but has a big heart. He makes excellent kitchen cutting boards with Maori design inlays. Nobody actually wants to use them, preferring to hang them above their mantelpiece or wherever, as works of art. Him and Boydy are best mates, exchanging wood, camaraderie and homemade brews. The stories and laughter I heard hanging around those blokes was simply life at its best.

    Jan was my art teacher back in year 12. An extremely lovely woman and family friend, having taught both younger brother Greg and myself. She visits mum and dad whenever she is back up in Darwin. I stayed at her and Rays place in the rainforest for a year with pythons, night tigers and bats in my room at night. Well, the night tigers were in the ceiling. Venomous, deadly, but they won't bite you. Unless you are stupid enough to stand on them when in the attic. But you would never know when they came down from there. At night. The pythons try to catch the bats, as well as they do catch the chickens from time to time. I was awoken a couple of times by the sounds of the 'we are not early morning dinner alarm' of the frizzles who lived under the house. But some of them were.

    I was cleaning up Ray's workshop end of the surround-veranda one day and saw one of Boydys carvings up-ended in the bin. I checked with Jan and she reckons that he must have put it there, or maybe Ray. I checked with Ray when he got home and he said Boydy doesn't want it, it's rubbish.
    Oh, so he doesn't like it. Looks fine to me! I took it out of the bin and put it aside. I can paint that maybe. When I saw Boydy I asked if I could have it to paint. He was happy with that and suggested I do some aboriginal style painting to decorate it.

    Daughter Emy arrives a week later from Canberra for the school holidays. She is very creative too. Amazingly so. From when she was a bub she had free reign with all the art and craft stuff I had laying around. Back when I lived at Tyalgum and she was still on the Gold Coast, she comes waltzing out of my art room after being industrious in there for about half an hour while I was reading. I thought she was painting or making feather sculptures or playing with clay or something like that. But she made a grand entrance into the living room, totally disguised except for her size! She had taped paper tubes to her limbs, torso, neck and head. She was a four year old robot. It was a fantastic effort to do all that, to herself, sizing all those elements from my four-hundred dollar roll of kaolin paper and then taping them all on, all by herself. Oh, I could see her feet! Along with the height, that was a give-away.

    Anyway, I showed Emy the carving and asked if she would like to paint it with me. Together. Being Em she said, "yeah dad". So I pulled out all the colours I had from our community murals project and suggested we could use them all. No worries. One beautifully serene afternoon of colour with Em. She did what she wanted to do and I did what I wanted to do, marking our edges, and then blending where we thought we should.

    What we ended up with was not what Boydy had imagined, though I explained to him that the dots are aboriginal style art, symbols with significance. Anyway, Jan loved it and so did Ray. So it now hangs above their front door on that front veranda of theirs, in the middle of the rainforest, with the pythons, night tigers, bats, frizzles and all those other wonderful creatures.
    Except for the balustrade, the only painted piece of wood on the surround-veranda of a very large wooden house covered in a myriad of wooden art, wooden artefacts, and wooden furniture all with natural wood finish.

    Picture: Collaborative Art. Em and I with our 'Journey Fish' painting on Boydy's woodcarving, on the long-table veranda. Photo by Tahne.
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