Words by Jamie Burnett | Photos by Dwight O’Neil

It’s the type of shed every DIY wannabe wishes was theirs. And the good news is, it can be. Firstly it’s big… real big. And it’s choc-full of toys. Amongst the more standard tools like sanders, saws and drills, there’s plenty of speciality gear. Near the back there’s “Big Red” (the big red coloured laser cutter). “Little Red” (you guessed it) is the smaller laser-cutter. There’s a design room with 3-D printers and top-end software. While next door you’ll find an electronics room that looks like some kind of communications bunker. It’s wall to wall with screens, speakers and wires. And in between that, there’s the band room. It’s soundproofed and ready for rehearsal. Essentially Perth Artifactory is pretty cool and open to all.

The idea for the Osborne Park community workshop started more than a decade ago, and now a range of makers from across Perth share the space to create almost everything.

“This place started in 2009 in the lobby of a Hungry Jacks with the founders pooling together their tax returns… they rented a house in Mt Lawley in 2011 and then moved to this warehouse (current Osborne Park site) and shared the space. Now we’ve expanded to the point where this site is all us,” says deputy treasurer Fletcher Boyd.

“We’re Perth’s only public maker space. We’re a community workshop where people can come, work with a range of different tools, learn new technologies and work in a collaborative environment to build new ideas in ways that you can’t do anywhere else.”

While Perth Artifactory has grown in size over the last decade, its core is still about community, sharing ideas and helping out. There’s a range of different makers who come here, with a diverse range of skills. There’s woodworkers, metalworkers, robot creators, laser cutters, leather makers and musicians – and that’s just scratching the surface. Fletcher says that melting pot takes ideas and skills to interesting places.

“A lot of what happens here is inspired by the people that come here getting together. That leads to new ideas and creations. Our youngest member is 16, but we have people come through with their kids to start making at just six or seven. Other guys bring in their dads and I bring my grandfather occasionally and we work on woodworking projects.

“We’ve not only got a massive spectrum in ages, but in professions too. We have artists, engineers, students, mathematicians, sculptors and all sorts of different people that want to work on things.”

Fletcher then points to a whiteboard in the corner.

“You see that whiteboard? There’s a bunch of mathematical equations on the back. They were put up by a PHD student. Throughout the night other people here were jumping on the board and helping solve the problem. You don’t get that anywhere else.

“Personally, I’ve taken people through from learning how to use a hammer and going up to learning how to using industrial laser cutters… they’ve gone from no skills to being quite an accomplished makers over time and all through the help of people here.”

Like many members, Fletcher joined because he wanted to get on the tools and get around others who craved the same.

“I wanted to do more things with my hands and I was looking for that community aspect. I wanted to connect with other people who were into the same things. I started building a server rack but I ended up standing in front of a laser cutter all night, entranced by cutting random geometric shapes after a member had spent 30 minutes showing me how to use the machine. From there I went into learning how to use and maintain these machines… that really fascinates me and there’s nowhere else I could learn to do that.

“Apart from the community, the biggest thing I’ve got from this place is the exposure to a range of different technologies… and so many different ways of thinking and viewpoints. You have a problem presented here and five different members will come up with five different ways to solve it… that continued exposure to that melting point of ideas has been fantastic.”

In its tenth year, Perth Artifactory has received a welcome boost, announced as the latest ALBY Made Community Arts grant recipient. The community group will receive a $1000 grant to help provide new specialist equipment.

“The majority of funds are going toward upgrading our design room… it’s a space where people will have access to 3-D printers and specialist software.

“We run on a shoe-string budget and this type of grant is what we need to maintain, expand and make the space better for everyone. We connect with so many different groups and subcultures… getting different makers and people together who want to hang out.”

To find out more about Perth Artifactory, head to their website here.

Words by Jamie Burnett | Photos by Dan Cross

It’s three quarter time at the Mutton Cup and Quairading Bulls coach Paul Dilena isn’t happy.
His side conceded the last four goals of the term, and are now 21 points down on their home deck against bitter rivals Kellerberrin/ Tammin.

“Hold and control the footy,” coach Dilena pleads to his players. He’s trying to hold his composure but the passion pushes forward.

“That’s how we win. We deny them the ball,” he yells.
Country footy is tough and this game is no different. These two clubs have a history. For the last five years, it’s been the Keller/Tammin Kats that have beaten up on the Bulls. And former Quairading player, president, administrator and life member Richard Walker knows it.

“I’ve been at this club since 1973. The last four years we’ve been in the wilderness. It’s been hard to take. We’re a very proud club but it’s been a rude awakening. It’s been hard but things are back. It’s turned and we’re back,” says Walker.

Back to the footy and the rev up from Coach Dilly (as the boys call him) seems to have worked. The Bulls have kicked three goals on the trot and are steaming home for an unlikely win. With minutes to go, and just five points down, the Bulls take a contested mark inside defensive 50. A risky kick into the middle of the ground comes off and hits the target. Suddenly the ground opens up and the Kats look tired.

Quairading players spread, energised by the opportunity to pull off a miracle victory. A long bomb is kicked high and into space inside attacking 50. It’s collected on the bounce by a Bulls forward, who dashes into the open forward line with pace. However a Kats defender has made up ground. Moments before impact, the Bulls forward lets fly and takes a shot. The few hundred fans, cheering hard all afternoon, hold their breath. For the first time today there’s silence. But it doesn’t last long. A collective groan of disappointment tells the story. It’s a behind. The Kats hold the lead. And that was to be the last real chance of the day. Quairading end up going down by seven points. Coach Dilly is clearly frustrated, but he’s quick to flash a trademark smile and look to the bigger picture.

“I’m disappointed, but one thing you can’t question with this group is the effort and the unwavering desire to win. We just lacked polish today.

“Out here we’re playing for sheep stations, the guys are trying to do the job for their town. The players aren’t just playing for a jumper, they’re coming together for an entire town.”

And coach Dilly is right. The Mutton Cup is more than footy. It’s about community and a pride of place.
“A lot of the boys in the side are on the farm in Quairading, or grew up here before moving to the city to play WAFL or try their luck at AFL. But many of those who leave come back. The boys that work in Perth during the week still come back to play for the Bulls because it’s their local team and it means so much to them,” says coach Dilly.

While the footy result stings for a while, the players quickly start embracing tonight’s festivities. A few hundred metres from the oval, a tin-roofed gazebo is transformed into an open-air bar. The weather has been kind, but with the sun set it’s starting to feel fresh. Old gallon drums are turned into fire pits. Pairs of hands are lined up, palms outstretched and just centimetres from the flames. Eskies are full with ALBY Draught and ALBY Crisp. A local band on stage is sound checking and getting ready to kick off. And a mix of players, farmers and families (not just from Quairading but all over the district) are having a good time.

“One thing I’ve always loved about this town is it’s not just about the football, it’s about the community. It’s a place for people to come together, there’s a football game on but you’ve got wives, girlfriends and families getting together for lunch or dinner. There’s people around the barbecue cooking, everyone is helping out. There’s a range of different backgrounds and age groups, it’s a real community vibe out here for sure.

“The Mutton Cup will become the biggest event in country football. We’ve got five or six different football clubs getting together tonight for this. There is white line fever on the field, but afterward we can get together, share a few ALBYs and have a good time.

“Having ALBY on board gives people a lift. It’s a proud feeling knowing that ALBY cares so much about a small, local community like Quairading,” says coach Dilly.

The party goes into the early hours, with tents and swags scattered across clubrooms, change rooms and around the ground. Despite the loss on field, there’s no doubt the fourth annual Mutton Cup has been a winner for the locals. And if you’re still wondering why it’s called the “Mutton Cup” – you’ll have to come down next year to find out.