AustraliaWorld's largest wooden clock gives WA town hope of tourism revival

00:45  12 january  2019
00:45  12 january  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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A 15-year journey to build the world ' s largest wooden clock hit several hurdles, but the biggest was finding somewhere to put the 6-metre tall wooden timepiece.

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World's largest wooden clock gives WA town hope of tourism revival© Provided by ABC News Kevin spent 13 years building this six-metre tall wooden pendulum clock. Four years into a 15-year journey that saw Kevin Bird build what is believed to be the world's largest wooden pendulum clock, he hit a major roadblock.

A proposed civic centre that was supposed to house his 6-metre wooden clock was knocked back by the local council.

Suddenly, he was left with a 2-tonne wooden clock, and nowhere to put it.

"Some people say when you're digging a hole and you get into the manure you stop digging," Mr Bird said.

"Well, other people say you've got to keep going until it's finished and I kept on digging.

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"Ultimately I was left with all these pieces that were years of my life and unless they were all together and running it was just nothing more than expensive firewood."

A man's shed is his castle

So Kevin Bird built a giant shed on his property in Nannup, in south-west WA, to house this giant clock.

From there, he continued to tinker away in his shed slowly putting together each piece.

His goal was never to build the world's biggest wooden clock, but rather create something magnificent out of timber.

"There was a bit of a thing that timber was nothing other than woodchips and railway sleepers and I thought that's not quite right," Mr Bird said.

"I was making smaller clocks, and I thought I should really make a big one day and that's how it started."

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Despite its size, the construction of the timepiece was not Mr Bird's biggest challenge. It was finding somewhere to eventually house it.

The efforts took its toll on Mr Bird and his wife Margaret.

"When he couldn't put it up he said 'Margaret, I can't'. I said 'You have to have completion of this clock'. It's been a long, long journey," she said.

More than just a 'big banana'

In late 2016 there was finally light at the end of the tunnel.

Local business owner Heather Walford and her husband proposed to build a tower in the main street of Nannup to enclose and house the clock and turn it into a tourism drawcard.

Ms Walford said she fell in love with the clock as soon as she saw it.

"It's an absolute piece of art. It's a gorgeous thing to look at as well as being very, very big.

"It's a dream, it's a passion, it's got so many things going for it," she said.

The Nannup Shire sits on the banks of the Blackwood River and is often trying to draw tourists to the town as they take a trip to the neighbouring Margaret River wine region.

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The Manila Declaration on World Tourism of 1980 recognized its importance as "an activity essential to the life of nations because of its direct effects on the Tourism brings large amounts of income into a local economy in the form of payment for goods and services needed by tourists , accounting as of

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Nannup Shire President Tony Dean said the clock was one of the greatest innovations in Nannup tourism.

"We don't have any attractions — except for our natural beauty of course — but we don't have many built attractions, and modern tourism needs built attractions, and for that alone it will bring tourists," Mr Dean said.

"Hopefully this will iron out the seasonal variation so we have a constant flow of visitors at least to the CBD."

Recognition of Nannup's history

Nannup is an old timber town and is still home to an operating timber processing plant.

Mr Bird used local timber varieties jarrah and she-oak to build the clock as a way of showcasing wood.

"We've now got to go back to something that is sustainable that we can grow in our backyards and it will last and it's beautiful," Mr Bird said.

For Ms Walford, part of the clock's appeal is its recognition of Nannup's timber history.

"Now that Nannup's timber industry is decreasing, and we're looking at alternatives for that, this is a really important way for us to conserve our history and honour our heritage," she said.

With his 15-year project now at an end, Mr Bird is not sure what is next on the cards.

But in the meantime, he will have to come to terms with a silent and empty shed.

"I went into the shed this morning to pick up some bits and it was so empty. I thought, oh well, that bit of my soul that was in my shed is now in the main street."

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