Home' Abode : November 23 Contents THE HERALD
When you think rock gods, Bruce Springsteen
comes to mind. Eric Clapton. Maybe Mick
Jagger. It is unlikely that Keith Tutor's name
would pop into anyone's head.
But a rock god Keith Tutor is, although not of the
guitar-strumming variety. Tutor is a rock god of the
garden, earning his title as one of the best in the
world at creating fake rocks that are hard to tell from
the real thing.
His rock-making DVDs now sell in 75 countries
around the world, in unlikely places like Alaska,
Norway, Nairobi, Nigeria, Bolivia, Peru, Mauritius,
Austria, Libya, Morocco, Bahrain, Dubai, Arabia,
Lithuania and Serbia, to name but a few.
"Part of my week is helping people with their
projects from all over the place, so it's pretty inter-
esting dealing with so many cultures," Tutor says.
Now his two-man, international export business that
is probably number one in its genre in the world, is
based in Newcastle after a flood wiped out his home
on Newry Island, near Bellingen, earlier this year.
"I decided to stay for a while in Newcastle and have
duly fallen in love with the place and have decided to
stay put," he says.
About 15 years ago, Tutor was working as a design
teacher for TAFE and running a landscape business.
He liked the use of large-scale rocks in landscaping
but access to big rocks was hard to come by, so one
day he piled up building rubble - "bricks and con-
crete, stuff that was going to the tip" - and came up
with a covering material that converted the rubble to
a faux boulder at a cost of about $15.
He has continued to develop his rock-making
system since then, using simple tools and readily
available materials, until his rocks today are incred-
ibly realistic and cost effective, with a DIY boulder
coming in at about $40.
Word got out about his early rock-making efforts
and led to a story in Australian Countrystyle maga-
zine, which in turn led to TV exposure. Suddenly,
2500 letters of inquiry were pouring in, and as he
didn't want to reply to them all separately, he made
an explanatory video.
"Things just grew from there," he says.
There are now six videos in his range (averaging
about $39.95 each), covering things like solid and
hollow rocks, stepping stones, staircases, water fea-
tures, inside features and colour finishes.
"I thought that people could be interested in
learning how to make their own rock," Tutor says. "I
always saw my main market as the 'home do-it-your-
self person' and designed my methods of making
realistic rock to be as easy to do and as budget-
minded as possible."
Tutor still does the occasional job himself - he has
been renovating a pool at Adamstown Heights since
he has been in the city, as well as filming a new DVD
- but his main business now is the DVDs and teaching
others how to do the work.
Students - particularly those wanting to make a busi-
ness of it - come from all around Australia and the
world to spend a day or two with him learning the
Basically the rocks are made by using recycled
products such as building rubble, or small pieces of
quarry rock, roadbase loosley mixed with cement,
glass bottles and soil fill, with concrete poured over
the mounds as a fastener. A rock-making mortar sur-
face is then placed over the concrete to shape and
texture into a boulder.
The boulders can be used to make staircases, step-
treads and stepping stones, stone ponds and water
surrounds, artificial rock waterfalls and fake boulder
More information: www.artificialrock.com.au
Silverchair may be Newcastle's pre-eminent rockers,
but now there's a new rock god in town.
ROCK ON: Four stages of making a
rock by hand, from top to bottom
with the finished article, right.
Deck-Max the secret fixing system for timber decking is here!
Cobbin Parade Belmont • Tel: 4945 9099
ABN 35 000 504 450
opposite Belmont High
with no visible
nails or screws
We can mill your
choice of timber
"Tests show Deck-Max is over
5 times stronger than nail fixing"
For more information phone 4945 9099 or email email@example.com
You can say NO
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