2016 Create from a Crate
VWA Exhibitions

2016 Create from a Crate

Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre
Corner of Walker and Robinson Streets,
Dandenong VIC 3175

Hatch Contemporary Arts Space
14 Ivanhoe Parade,
Ivanhoe VIC 3079

Shining a spotlight on the environmental impact of timber packaging waste, the biennial Create from a Crate Competition and Exhibition is a creative platform for demonstrating that waste timbers can be a valuable and untapped resource material when handled by skilled designers and craftspeople.

Create from a Crate attracts some of Australia's most talented woodworkers, designers and makers who have risen to the challenge of making a beautiful object or furniture piece from two rough and discarded timber pallets.

The exhibition was conceived by Dandenong based timber recycler, Ward Petherbridge from Smart Recycling who approached the Victorian Woodworkers Association to collaborate on the project 10 year ago.


Jeremy Brown

First Prize

Jeremy Brown, who impressed the judging panel, with a sleek, light framed chair that he created through hand-cut joinery.

Chair by Jeremy Brown

David Hall

Second Prize

David Hall with his Stack of Crates Cabinet – a finely crafted piece that connects with the original use of the timber and incorporates the timbers damages and flaws into considered design features.

Stack of Crates Cabinet by David Hall

Clare Solomon

Third Prize

Clare Solomon, with her unexpected entry, a satchel bag constructed using traditional fine woodworking techniques.

Satchel by Clare Solomon

People's Choice Winners

We counted 590 votes and the clear winner of the Create from a Crate 2016 People's Choice Award is Alex Springall's beautiful cabinet. In second place is Hamish Hill's loom and equal third is the children's desk by Shane Smith & chair by Mark Carron.

Alex Springall

First Place

Cabinet by Alex Springall

Hamish Hill

Second Place

Loom by Hamish Hill

Shane Smith

Third Place

Children's Desk by Shane Smith

Mark Carron

Third Place

Chair by Mark Carron


History & Aim

Create from a Crate first commenced in 2003 and ran through until 2006.

In 2015/16 Waste Converters and the Victorian Woodworking Association are once again organising this competition after a 6 year hiatus. The crates used for the previous competitions came from the Iveco Truck manufacturing plant in Dandenong. This year the timber used for the competition will come from pallets that were made in the USA and they have come from AMCOR Flexibles. These pallets were used to import rolls of heavy metallic film used to make food packaging.


The aim of the competition is to promote the re-use of waste timber that is currently going to landfill. The competition focuses particularly on post-industrial timber packaging waste.

Each year in Victoria, 500,000 tonnes of timber waste is disposed of. Much of this timber waste is packaging waste in the form of pallets, crates and boxes. Often imported pallets are made of exotic timber species and much of this timber has the potential to be recycled into new and value added products.

We hope that the Create from a Crate Competition helps make people aware of the potential that this waste material has for being re-used and recycled. We would like to change people’s attitudes towards timber waste so that people begin to consider this timber more as a resource that can be reused, rather than as refuse to be discarded. The competition provides the incentive for individual wood designers and crafts people to design and construct functional or artistic objects from the timbers available from these pallets.

Categories & Awards

A minimum of 4 Prizes will be judged and awarded including:

First Prize$3,000
Second Prize$2,000
Third Prize$1,000
Waste Converters Prize$1,000

Additional prizes and categories may be added.

We will be aiming for the initial exhibition and announcement of competition winners to be held will at a Melbourne Metropolitan Gallery, followed by a tour of the exhibition to Regional Victorian Centres.

Materials & Design

Material Collection

The timber used in the Competition is provided from the Waste Converters Recycling Depot in Dandenong South. This timber comes from shipping pallets and crates that were made in the USA and supplied for recycling from AMCOR.

Two wooden pallets will made available to each contestant.

EACH PALLET CONTAINS: (all dimensions approximate)

  • 3 bearers 1520-1670mm long, 150 x 70mm
  • 9 boards 760mm long, 100 x 20mm
  • 1 board 760mm long, 125 x 20mm
  • 2 boards 760mm long. 150 x 25mm.

The pallets originate from the U.S.A., and include some of the following timber species; American white and red oak, sycamore, maple, cherry, ash and elm.

Note: These pallets are larger than the standard Chep pallets. To collect the pallets you will need appropriate transport such as a trailer, ute, large 4wd, or van. These pallets will not fit in the back of a sedan or hatchback, and should not be attached to roofracks.

Object Design

  • Contestants are required to design and construct functional or artistic objects from the crate timbers.
  • Exhibits 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. 
  • The idea is to "emphasise" rather than hide the recycled origin of the material!

Entry Process

There are several steps and fees related to entry. Please read carefully:

Exhibition Registration and Entry Fee: This fee is non-refundable. It contributes to the organisation of the exhibition.

  • VWA Members: Free
  • Non-VWA Members: $50
  • You may consider becoming a VWA Member to receive free entry and the other benefits that membership provides.

Crate Collection Fee: This fee is refunded after your item is displayed in the exhibition.

  • Crate Collection Fee: $50

 Next Steps:

Contact Details

For additional information on Create from a Crate 2016, contact:

John Monument - Organiser
e: exhibitions@vwa.org.au
m: 0417 119 946


Ward Petherbridge - Organiser
e: ward@wasteconverters.com.au
m: 0418 350 551


The VWA gratefully acknowledges the generous assistance provided by Effective Freight Management for shipping pallets interstate.

Please consider Effective Freight Management for your transport, shipping, and supply chain management needs!

  • View all VWA Exhibitions
  • 2014 Create from a Crate
  • 2017 Double Take in Wood

Contact Us

Victorian Woodworkers Association (VWA)
Postal Address

42 Courtney St,
North Melbourne, VIC 3051
03 5776 2178

VWA Wood Design Centre and Workshop

5 Tyrone St,
North Melbourne, VIC 3051
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