Tick tock what a big clock
Congratulations to Marg and Kevin on their mammoth achievement.
After 15 years both Marg and Kevin can sit back and admire a truly remarkable achievement, the completion and placement of the largest wooden pendulum clock in the world.
The project began in 2004, culminating in the official opening on the 25th January 2019.
To celebrate the opening the community was joined by the Hon Adel Farina MLC, Nola Marino MP and many guests and dignitaries.
Kevin started small, making made-to-order wooden grandfather clocks out of the workshop on his farm.
Then the timber industry started facing pressure from environmental groups, and Kevin, frustrated by a perception that Nannup timber was only used for “wood chips and railway sleepers”, decided upon the perfect protest: a really, really big clock.
The finished clock is six metres tall, weighs two tonnes and took more than a decade to build.
This month, 15 years after it first began – after a string of rejections, a failed community centre proposal and “six months of crying” – the wooden clock went on display in a purpose-built 14-metre-tall clocktower in the town centre: the highest point on the Nannup skyline.
It joins Australia’s ever-growing list of big things.
“It seems to be very, very popular,” Kevin said. “It has gone full circle. But I could have done without all the bull****.”
The six-metre clock is now housed in a specially built clock tower in the centre of the town.
The project began in 2004, with a promise that it would be housed in a new Nannup community centre. When the centre lost the backing of the Nannup shire council, Kevin was lost.
“I was devastated,” he said. “I was left with a pile of bits and nowhere for it to go. I probably cried for about six months, and then after a while I thought, ‘nothing is changing, and you have to go do something about it yourself’.”
With the encouragement of his wife, Margaret, he kept going, and built a new extra-tall shed in order to finish construction.
There it stood for four years until it was dismantled and painstakingly moved into the new Nannup clocktower, run by local businesswoman Heather Walford.
Kevin snuck in earlier this week and watched some tourists admiring his handiwork from the viewing platform.
“The one that surprised me the most is the women,” he said. “I never ever thought that a woman would appreciate something like that, because it’s a mechanical thing, it’s a bit blokey. But it’s the opposite – they are looking at it as a beautiful piece of kinetic art, and it makes the most wonderful sound of wood hitting wood.”
He holds the phone up to a wooden grandfather clock in the living room of his home on an acerage a few kilometres out of town, and lets the ticking play down the line.
“Hear that?” he says. “That’s wood on wood.”
The largest single gear in the big clock is just over a metre in diameter, and 50mm thick. The frame is made from locally cut jarrah while the mechanism was made with laminated western she-oak, a “very durable and stable wood” cut from the gnarled trunks of Allocasuarina fraseriana, a little coastal species often stunted by sea breezes.
Kevin learned to build clocks while working as an aircraft engineer for now-defunct airline Ansett Australia in the 1960s, when it still used some Douglas DC-3 and DC-4 aircraft left over from the second world war.
“They all had wind-up chronometers in the instrument panel as a final back-up to determine position and longitude,” he said. “I used to service them and I hated the bloody things. But how a clock works? I know all about that.”
Tribute to Bernie
BERTH BŐRJE KRISTOFFERSSON 27/3/1948 – 22/8/2015
Bernie our friend for many years has given joy to many people through his craftsmanship of our beautiful WA Native timber, we thank you for your dedication and commitment to your craft.
Börje or Bernie to most of us, Immigrated to Australia in 1970 to work in Carlisle as a cabinet maker at Neeta Furnitures.
Before coming to Australia Börje completed 5 years at University studying furniture design and techniques and graduated with a Master Craftsman Degree from Vännas, in Sweden. This facility no longer exists in Sweden, in fact, it was closed the year after Börje graduated.
Börje spent his compulsory 12 months National Service in the Swedish navy and it was largely because of this that he realised that the world was a big place and he felt he had to get out and explore it. He immigrated to Perth,against the wishes of the Australian Immigration Dept (they felt that they couldn’t give him the support he may need in WA as he couldn’t speak English) but he stood his ground, it was WA or nothing. He was also a country boy from the very north of Sweden, knew he wouldn’t like the hustle and bustle of the larger cities of Sydney or Melbourne, and he liked the idea of Western Australia being so isolated. He was astounded when he discovered Jarrah, fell in love with it and never, ever, fell out of love with it.
His love of West Australian hardwoods brought he and his young family to Manjimup in 1985 where he and his wife Robyn started their own business calling it Kristoffersson Furniture.
It was a really good time to be in the timber industry and in Manjimup. Börje was totally in his element and made many new friends through his wonderful skill at turning a piece of wood into something really beautiful. The folk in this small town embraced all that he stood for, not only could he produce good quality products out of the timber that so many had worked with for (in some cases) generations, but he was very likeable as well. He was an honest, hardworking man, just like the majority of people living in Manjimup, and they respected him. His reputation grew and he was never out of work.
His son Andrew served his apprenticeship under his father and has proved that he has followed in his fathers footsteps with his innate ability and skill in creating fine furniture.Börje legacy will live on in his sons.
In 2002, he and Robyn created, organised and sponsored a golf tournament at the Manjimup Country Club. It’s purpose was to bring people to the South West. The timber industry and cannery had taken a huge tumble. Many folk lost their ability to earn an income in the area and many were forced to leave town. It was a very dark and sad time for Manjimup and it’s surrounds. Börje wanted to give something back to these people struggling with their small businesses, so he and Robyn formed a committee to brain storm how they could bring tourists to the area and show case the unique South West. Wineries were springing up and the thought was, that with the combination of the wood and wine industries they could encourage visitors to come, play golf and have a look around. It turned out to be an extremely good idea and is still going strong after 16 years.
Börje was as proud of this achievement as he was about anything else that he had done whilst in Manjimup. He always felt that he was paying his dues to a town and community that had welcomed he and his family in 1985.