The Evolution of the Incredible Shrinking Machine

Gould League is constantly evolving. As we begin an exciting new chapter at Le Page Primary School, with our inaugural excursion program being run today in our new centre, we’d like to take the time to reflect on our decades at Genoa St.

The organization was fortunate to be granted our peppercorn lease onsite with Bayside Special Development School after Moorabbin High School closed in 1984. The premises underwent an amazing transformation when Gould League (as you know, an iconic, non-profit environmental education organization) established a ‘Recycling, Waste and Sustainability Education Centre’ onsite in 1990 for school excursions.

Spoiler alert: If you’d like Gould League’s famous Incredible Shrinking Machine to remain a magical illusion, then we suggest you don’t read any further!

Incredible Shrinking MachineOne of the most popular themed rooms in the centre was the ‘Incredible Shrinking Machine’ also known as the ‘Giant Compost Bin’. It wasn’t just teachers and students who were in awe of this innovative approach to learning about the inner-workings of compost bins and their minibeast inhabitants. In 1997, Gould League received a highly commended award, from the National Awards in Excellence in Interpretation for the Shrinking Machine’s display, light and sound show.award

Two, now very prominent, Melbourne-based environmental educators and authors, Pat Armstrong and Bob Winters, co-created this immersive learning experience. In 1998 Project Manager Ms Armstrong won the Victorian Environmental Educator of the Year award and her colleague Mr Winters won it four years later in 2002!

We’re thrilled to announce that our new centre in Cheltenham has a new and improved version of our most adored room! That giant hand, hairy spider, slimy looking slugs and scuttling slaters have all ‘migrated’ to their new home and the artistic talents of staff and volunteers have given them a fresh new (classroom sized) ‘Compost Bin’ to inhabit with fruit and vegetable scraps to scale, and even some 3D ones to sit on!

With a fresh new sound track featuring the voices of students from the ‘Waste Busters’ team from Glen Iris Primary School, it’s a ‘must-do’ experience for anyone who knows and loves the original, and an incredibly memorable experience for those new to our programs. We consider it a right of passage for all children to experience it at least once!

Check out some pictures of the creative process: real banana peels and pineapples being used as ‘muses’ for the painted mural design and our severed fingers waiting to be hung (and frightening unsuspecting Board Members in the process!).
banana peel pineapple resizefingers


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