AFTER almost two years, it is now time to name the turtle sculpture that lies in beautiful, clear, Coral Sea waters, on the small beach between Mirage Whitsundays Resort and Marina Shores, Airlie Beach.
The beautiful turtle is a reproduction of the Green Turtle species, cast in bronze by well known local sculptor, Foot Young, based on Hamilton Island.
It was lifted into place at the end of December, 2020, thanks to the hard work of a dedicated team of helpers and the Rotary Airlie Beach Club, who commissioned it (see photos of the installation).
Now, after two years of COVID restrictions, Rotary Airlie Beach is getting ‘back to business’ and is holding a ‘name the turtle’ competition and erecting more interpretive signage along the Bicentennial Boardwalk.
The sign, due to be erected opposite the turtle’s location, compares it to The Little Mermaid, in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Brussel’s Manneken Pis (Belgium) – both small in size but huge as tourist drawcards!
The boardwalk sign goes on to say:
‘This turtle was commissioned and installed by the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach, with the financial assistance from the Aus-Industry ‘Stronger Communities’ Program.
‘Representing a life-sized replica of a Green Turtle, this is one of a number of turtle species found in the Whitsundays.
‘Designed by local artist and sculptor Foot Young, the statue is in cold cast bronze with self-patinate to a stable bronze/copper colour, and the rock having tints of green Verdigris.
‘The Whitsundays is home to six of the world’s seven turtle species….who feed, breed, lay eggs and are often spotted whilst snorkelling.
‘Turtles lay their eggs on Whitsunday Island beaches from November to February. Their tracks are often seen on beaches the following morning.’
‘Name the turtle’ competition
The Rotary Airlie Beach ‘Name the turtle’ competition will be open to school students’ from the Whitsunday Regional Council area.
A judging panel will select the first, second and third prize winners, with prize money on offer (to be advised).
The turtle sculpture is part of Rotary’s Heritage Trail Project, which also includes widening walkways, installing shade sails and story boards (interpretive signage).
“We got a grant through the ‘Building Stronger Communities’ grants program,” club secretary Ian Johnston said.
“It was all supposed to happen at the beginning of 2020 but took until December 2020 because of COVID.
“Then there was a long period of inaction, due to restrictions, but we are back with all our projects now, and we want the community to get involved.”
Mr Johnston thanked Hawkes Boatyard, Coral Sea Marina Resort, Friends of Rotary and All Marine Services, for their assistance with the turtle installation.
The Heritage Trail Project, in collaboration with Whitsunday Regional Council, is heritage signage along the Bicentennial Boardwalk, touching on local aboriginal history and the history of the Whitsundays, from tourism to the growth of Airlie Beach.