The Victorian Woodworkers Association presents an annual competition “Create from a Crate” that feeds off the interest in upcycling. For the full story check out Supplier Magazine March/April issue, However, more recently, the People’s Choice award was announced.

Each year in Victoria, 500,000 tonnes of timber waste is disposed of, much of it in the form of pallets, crates and boxes. Ward Petherbridge, managing director of Waste Converters / S.M.A.R.T recycling where the pallets come from said: “With effort, skill and passion, a lot more can be done with what we discard as a society”. The Victorian Woodworkers Association works with S.M.A.R.T to present an annual competition, Create from a Crate, that feeds off the interest in upcycling.

Two wooden pallets were made available to each contestant. The pallets contained 15 boards of various dimensions and contestants are required to design and construct functional or artistic objects from the crate timbers. The object can be made using all or part of the timber provided, although other materials such as glass, metals, plastics, fabrics, leather etc. may be incorporated, provided the overall visual effect and design intent is to showcase the recycled pallet timber.

This year, first and third prizes went to students from the Australian National University. Jeremy Brown won with a chair made with a sleek, light frame. Third place went to Clare Solomon for her Decisions on the Run shoulder bag in reclaimed timbers, leather and steel. Second place went to David Hall with his Stack of Crates cabinet.

The People’s Choice Award often comes from the top three placings but, this year, it was won by Alex Springall from NSW with his exquisite marquetry cabinet. The cabinet features doors with several Australian parrots and a cockatoo sitting in a tree. The pallet nail holes can clearly be seen but do not distract from the visual appeal.

In second place was well-known Victorian woodworker Hamish Hill’s desktop weaving loom that also captured the public’s attention. Third place was a joint winner and went to Mark Carron’s Brutalist style chair and Shane Smith’s beautiful children’s desk.

Create from a Crate has become a National competition with pallets being delivered all up the East Coast of the country. This year 590 people voted in the People’s Choice Award. With almost 2000 people visiting the exhibition at Walker St Gallery in Dandenong, Victoria and Hatch Contemporary Art Space in Ivanhoe, Victoria and 26 pieces sold, the 2016 event was a huge success. To find out more about recycling and this worthwhile competition visit