Meet Margaret River's Maddest 'Chainsaw Artist'

When chainsaw artist Brendan Booth decided to build a sculpture park on his own, he had no idea he was creating a monster.

The Margaret River Sculpture Park recently opened to the public, and visitors can wander 10 acres of Mr Booth’s property where a walk-through garden houses over 30 giant sculptures - some of which are up to 5m high.   

Mr Booth has built the park entirely on his own and says it has been a manic affair. 

“You need to be slightly mad to do something like this; it’s taken me seven years of solitary confinement just to get to the stage I’m at now,” he says. 

“I’ve poured every ounce of my life into this, the park absorbs all of my imagination, energy and money; but if I see people smiling when they leave then I’m a happy craftsman.”

Mr Booth carves the sculptures from native timber with a chainsaw, and he says sporadic bursts of inspiration mean he is often working until sunrise.   

“It’s like a disease,” he says. 

“I’ll be stuck on something for months, and then one day it’ll just come to me and I’ll be up all night hacking into bits of wood like a madman.

“You really have to surrender yourself to the work.  You’re not actually carving it.  You’re just getting rid of what’s around it.” 

Some of the main attractions include a life-sized depiction of Gandalf, The Simpsons beer-swilling patriarch Homer Simpson, and a giant gorilla named Billy. 

The park had featured a number of erotic sculptures – including an ‘excited’ Bugs Bunny - but Mr Booth was forced to mutate many of the figures when he hosted an inaugural kids Easter treasure hunt.

Mr Booth began working with wood as a teenager nearly 30 years ago, and he says building the park has been a lifelong project. 

“Right from the word go I’d always wanted to build a sculpture park, and it’s great to finally see my dream come to fruition” he says. 

“It’s taken some trial, and a lot of error.  I’ve done it all on my own; I’ve only got two arms, and I don’t really know anything about building or architecture.  I’ve had to just make it up as I’ve gone along.”

Mr Booth is currently adding the finishing touches to a two-storey gallery; gift shop; tapas bar; and workshop, where visitors will be able to watch him work. 

The Margaret River Sculpture Park is located in Hamelin Bay, 20 minutes south of Margaret River, and is open from 8am to 6pm year round.