KI twins build tiny town in their backyard

Kangaroo Island twins Darcy and Thomas Roberts have built their own miniature town in their backyard at American River. 

The town has now grown to more than 72 houses and 16 services, including a petrol station, school, hospital, hotel and police station.

There is a church complete with cemetery, a visitor information centre and a farm complete with barns, machinery and a rooster on the roof.

The hotel has water delivered in a pipeline from the mine dam and the hardware store is partially buried into an embankment. 

But it a work in progress, and there is a lot more planned.

"It's not finished yet and we still have the power lines to go in and fences and we would like some street lighting," Thomas said. 

The 10-year-old boys would rather be playing out in the yard than sitting in front of a computer or even playing organised sport.

They have named it "Tailem Town" in honour of Old Tailem Town, a pioneer village on the banks of the Murray River they once visited and enjoyed very much.

Visit tiny "Tailem Town"

The boys started building the American River Tailem Town in the summer holidays and it has just grown from there.

One of the first features was the mine, whose open pit is now filled with mum's washing machine water.

Mum Trudi, and dad Greg, are very proud of their boys, who have found something special in the creation of Tailem Town. 

"I hope it inspired more kids to be outdoors and creating things," she said. "Instead of relying on other mediums, this is their stimulation."

They have the support of their neighbours, one of whom is more than happy to help out with his circular saw cutting out the wooden roofs to go on the bricks that form the houses.

Another has supplied a glue gun so the boys can stick things together, while others have dropped off items such as a little animals and other toys.

The boys still need larger vehicles so if anyone is willing to donate.

They obviously can't move the town but they would like to exhibit some photographs of their work in the upcoming Washed Up, Brushed Up art show at the KI Gallery.  

Much of the town is made of discarded and unwanted items, so it fits the show's theme of turning trash into treasure. 

TAILEM TOWN: The tiny town at American River is a work in progress and keeps on growing.

TAILEM TOWN: The tiny town at American River is a work in progress and keeps on growing.

And what are long-term aspirations of the boys, well their list of dream jobs is long. 

Thomas would like to be an architect or an engineer but also has a green thumb and could see stating his own gardening business. He is also a keen collector of any Bakelite items. 

Darcy meanwhile is inspired by the now long-gone Muston Railway that once ran to American River and would like to be a train driver one day, but he could equally see himself as a pilot or sailor. 

The boys are also keen artists and enjoy sketching out how they see their town growing. Some of the artwork has won prizes at art shows on the Island.

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