Roots lie in pioneering days for Biggenden garden
AN AVID collector of all things old, Gerry Cooper, with wife Julie, has transformed his spare allotment into a masterpiece.
The Biggenden couple has lived at 60 Edward St since 1980.
Gerry said when they moved the allotment was full of bindi eye and mango trees.
"We did the wrong thing planting 40 palm trees - they have been removed also."
The allotment is now a spectacular masterpiece called Cooper's Ridge - and proves you don't have to have flowers to have a garden.
Julie said the garden started when her sister Debbie wanted to have an engagement party.
Gerry and his mate Craig Nelson threw ideas around over a few beers and planned the garden.
It was planned in five phases starting at the front and then it just kept growing and growing.
Gerry said they originally had a pond at the front filled with about 55 goldfish that grew to about a foot long.
"They ended up being given away," he said.
"We filled the pond in with dirt and it now has a bridge over it made of silkstone.
"The pine tree at the front of the house over a time was carved by Craig to resemble Chinese lanterns."
Cooper's Ridge has a number of buildings including a cream shed from Carruthers Orchard and a blacksmith shop constructed from recycled timber filled with memorabilia.
The old shed, from the back of a Walsh St residence, is filled with old tools.
Gerry said four posts from Jack Randall's grandfather's laundry and 100-year-old flitches from Maitland's at Brooweena made up other constructions.
"Timber from Page's Bridge has been recycled into a picnic area called Cooper's Overflow," he said.
"Anything can be recycled and put to good use."
Another section depicts a mine. Gerry said the material for the wheels and wagons originated from the dump.
"The wagons are actually air-conditioner ducts," he said.
Gerry and his mates took 18 months to get a rock crusher from Many Peaks working. The white metal bearings had melted because of a fire.
"New bearings had to be made," he said.
"The day we got it up and running we celebrated with a sausage sizzle."
If anyone wonders why the Coopers always have a green lawn, it because they have their own bore at the back of the property.
Julie said the garden was easy to maintain.
"We don't have many flowers but what we have are drought tolerant," she said.
Another find from the dump turned out to be an Air Force metal work project.
Gerry said it was six pieces of sheet metal folded into the shape of a vehicle.
"Craig added wheels to it and it sits at the side of the house."
The grandchildren love to go to grandma and granddad's garden.
Chloe is fascinated by the baby lizard that has made its home in the garden.
Along with brother Ben, Chloe also loves when the sprinkler is attached to the bore as the water is freezing cold.
Over the years the couple has decorated the allotment with lights at Christmas time.
Gerry said next on his agenda was to go through the sheds and sort out his treasures.
The Coopers said people were welcome to stop by and walk through their "garden".