Lego-like letterbox photographed in Uki, a village  near Mount Warning in the Tweed Valley of far northern New South Wales
Lego-like letterbox photographed in Uki, a village near Mount Warning in the Tweed Valley of far northern New South Wales Contributed

Do we have the best letterboxes in the world?

THEY start out as scraps of metal, but end up as works of art.

Proudly stationed at the entrance to driveways, they reflect the home-owner's interest, profession, or even family pet.

Anyone driving around the Northern Rivers would be familiar with these gorgeous guardians of our mail.


There's no doubt we have a great affection for these often wild, whimsical and wacky letterboxes which often resemble peacocks, bush turkeys, horses, flying pigs, ladybirds and dogs.

One man who knows this better than most is metalwork artist Ludwig Rodler.

The 59-year old creator of some of the region's most amazing creature letterboxes originally qualified as a fitter and turner in his native Germany, before his love of recycling spurred him to create his business, Dark Side of the Spoon.

Mr Rodler said his letterboxes were usually based on a recycled 9kg gas bottles and often included spoons and other cutlery, hence the business name.

"And I'm a Pink Floyd fan from way back," he said.

"I have been doing the markets for 20 years or so making items out of recyclables things."

Mr Rodler is indeed a market stalwart, having had a stall at the Bangalow, Byron Bay and Channon markets for more than two decades.

Based at Upper Horseshoe Creek, Mr Rodler uses a variety of old technology and new to ring his letterbox ideas from concept to creation.

He said he still comes across pieces of metal at recycling places.

"I use a lot of old chains from bullock teams and wheel rims all hand forged, I also use old gas bottles and I'm a frequent visitor to the tip," he said.

"I have a forge and also use welding; I use a mixture of technology and I also make jewellery out old spoons."

Mr Rodler said sometimes ideas for letterboxes come along as he works.

"I collect a lot of old scrap metal and sometimes you see something special in old steel and you don't know what's going to come out of it until when you finish it," he said.

"Sometimes, these designs just happen, you look at it and like it and take if from there."

He said while the majority of his designs are snapped up at markets, he also gets quite a few commissions.

"I've made hundreds of letterboxes, my first one was an emu," he said.

"Recently I made a camel, sometimes people want a letterbox to reflect their pet or their business."