Like many people, Debby and Ken Schubring found themselves locked down at home and bored during COVID.
Unlike many, they had the distraction of their property and Ken’s workshop with a treasure trove of equipment in it.
The boredom of lockdown sparked a creative streak in the couple, and a project Ken had started for his granddaughter was retrieved from the shed.
He had started making a Minion out of a pressure pump cylinder for his granddaughter while he was still working but put it aside until he had more time.
Retired from his job at Beaudesert State School where they both worked for many years, and in lockdown, Ken and Debby retrieved the Minion and finished it in November 2020.
They installed it near the letterbox at their front gate on Beaudesert-Nerang Road, along with a sign that said ‘Up COVID-19’.
The Minion was affectionately named Stuart, after the cartoon character.
A passer-by put a photo of Stuart on Facebook and the reaction surprised both Debby and Ken.
Later, Ken came across another cylinder in his shed so they made another Minion and the family has continued to grow, with Debby and Ken creating costumes and themes according to the time of year and events.
At Christmas they also put a chair amongst the Minions so that people could sit and take photos at the site.
“I thought it would be mainly kids,” said Ken.
“But we often found adults sitting out there and having their photo taken.”
After the first one they didn’t do anything with the Minions for a while until someone asked Debby what they would do for Valentine’s Day, which galvanised the couple into action.
“We do Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Anzac Day, Christmas, the Olympics … I work out the sign and we dress them up,” said Debby.
Over the past eighteen months, the reaction to the Minions has been both positive and unexpected.
Debby and Ken often find cards and notes in their letterboxes to ‘the Minion family’.
“It’s amazing the number of people who say we made their day,” said Debby.”
The couple often find vehicles at their front gate, with people taking photos and putting notes in their letterbox.
“They got more Christmas cards than we did,” laughed Ken.
One of the notes in their letterbox echoes the sentiments of the many people who love the Minions: ‘Thank you so much for entertaining the passer-bys! What a joy it is to see the changing of the Minions! Keep up the great work!’