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Canberra
Monday, January 18, 2021

Green initiative creates kids’ play pieces

Canberra Backyards, a new business on the scene in the ACT, is impressing parents and children alike with its ‘raw range’ of children’s play pieces.

Michelle Templin and business partner Colleen Cooper upcycle wooden pallets, building them into play markets, petrol stations, tepees, pirate ships, and mud kitchens for kids. They also have a chalkboard table, and giant dominoes and Jenga sets.

“I’ve always been interested in upcycling pallets,” Michelle says. “We had an empty warehouse and I thought I’d finally do something about that.

“You really shouldn’t burn the pallets because they’re treated pine, so they get dumped and end up in landfill usually.

“This way they get a second lease on life.”

The raw range was only meant to be a temporary venture, while Michelle and Colleen waited for flat-packed cubby houses and chicken coops to arrive, but the range has proved to be their most popular offering.

Canberra Backyards’ raw range consists of handmade children’s play pieces, upcycled from wooden pallets. Photos: Kerrie Brewer.

“This was supposed to be just a time-filler for me,” says Michelle, who has now left her job as an IT program manager to pursue Canberra Backyards full time.

“Canberra’s got that interest in eco-friendly and green initiatives. The pallet pieces have really taken off.

“We go out on ‘pallet runs’ – if it’s by a bin then it’s there for the taking.”

Michelle also ropes in ten-year-old son, Finn, to help out with pallet runs and work on the weekend.

“We really try to make it a family thing.”

Michelle says orders are starting to come in for Christmas, as she and Colleen prepare to showcase their pieces at the Old Bus Depot markets in Kingston this month.

“It’s getting busy now we are leading up to Christmas and the warmer weather,” Michelle says.

“We are also doing a lot of custom work. People just come in and ask for stuff.

“We just whip something up as they ask for it.”

Canberra Backyards can be found at unit 15, 151-155 Gladstone Street, Fyshwick or visit canberrabackyards.com.au to find out more.

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