Don turns junk into works of art

RECYCLED CANS: Don Harrison loves making things out of junk including these amazing aeroplanes.
RECYCLED CANS: Don Harrison loves making things out of junk including these amazing aeroplanes. Max Fleet

BARGARA man Don Harrison takes delight in crafting objects of beauty from the discarded rubbish of his neighbours and friends.

The former high school science teacher has returned to a cherished childhood hobby in his retirement: making model aircrafts.

He is amassing a fleet of military aircraft such as Tiger Moths and Black Birds that once adorned the walls of his childhood Bundaberg home on posters.

The difference between Mr Harrison and most model plane enthusiasts is that he is making them entirely from soft drink and beer cans.

Mr Harrison is bringing to life his favourite planes with the help of plans sourced from other model aircraft builders and a little of his own inventiveness.

Among the collection is a Mustang P510 made out of Diet Coke cans, a Black Bird SR71, a classic bi-plane made from Coke cans and a partially finished SESA bi-plane made from VB cans.

The models are crafted with a loving attention to detail and feature wheels made from two beer bottle caps glued together and under carriages fashioned from coat hangers.

For Mr Harrison, his hobby has an underlying message of conservation and the importance of recycling.

"My motivation is one of making stuff of merit out of junk," he said.

"All of these cans would have been thrown away and ended up as landfill."

Mr Harrison said the history of the popular metal aluminium shone an interesting light on his unique creations.

Aluminium was once more expensive than gold because of the difficulty of its extraction from bauxite and, as a result, was very rare.

Napolean III, emperor of France, reserved cutlery made from it for his most favoured guests, while others were given knives and forks of gold and silver.

In the mid-1800s, aluminium jewellery was a popular fashion accessory of parish women and when the Washington monument was built in America, it was capped with it in a statement of prosperity.

Mr Harrison said that his models celebrated the beauty of the now abundant element. "It's ironic that something that was once so expensive is now regarded as rubbish," he said.

"Something that was once more expensive than gold is now landfill."

Mr Harrison has been known to scavenge roadside cans and rummage through the bins of super markets. He said there was no shortage of materials to work from.

"Australians are very generous," he said.

"They just chuck cans all over the place."

"And my friends drink plenty of them and pass them on."

Topics:  junk model aircraft

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