The official name for the design is Canistrum (Latin for wicker basket) and was described by its designer Michael Lennie as “an unfinished basket reflecting an unfinished history.” The council invested in the design to attract visitors, with the idea inspired by the Hundertwasser toilet in New Zealand.
Michael Lennie’s design was chosen in the Kenilworth Designer Dunny with almost 200 entries. The designs all had to take into account the seasonal flooding from the Mary River. It is intended to honor the traditional crafting of Aboriginal basket weaving (particularly for fishing) while also embracing modern materials. It uses striking colors to contrast with the native environment.
The contest to design the toilets in Isaac Moore Park was held in 2015, and work was completed on the Castrinium toilets in 2020, with only slight changes to Lennie’s original design.