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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Where’s Wall(ab)y?

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THE PROSERPINE rock wallaby is a rare species that is indigenous to the area and much prized by biologists and nature groups.

It is also much prized by well known local artist Adriaan Vanderlugt, which is why he sculpted a beautiful statue of a rock wallaby, which stood out the front of the Proserpine council chambers for many years.

Unfortunately, like so many things, the statue was a victim of Cyclone Debbie, in March 2017, and was ‘mothballed’ for several years, while the severely damaged council administration building was knocked down and rebuilt.  

The statue, however, took a little longer to re-emerge, after much to-ing and fro-ing between artist and council executives.

The statue is now located in the alleyway between the council administration building and the funeral parlour.

This is despite six locations being proposed in a report, including the Proserpine Administration Centre – left side of building front or right side of building front; the Proserpine Entertainment Centre and library; the Proserpine Hospital; and the Proserpine Court House (on the corner or on the front lawn).

The January 2022 report reads:

‘The purpose of this project is to relocate the Proserpine Rock Wallaby Sculpture from the side alley-way at the Proserpine Administration Centre to a more suitable location where it can be seen by the public. This project will outline how the sculpture will be re-located and the proposed locations’.

But nothing happened.

Mr Vanderlugt, from Strathdickie, feels he is getting nowhere on where the statue – which technically belongs to council – should be relocated, despite many attempts.

He believes the current location is inappropriate and out of view.

“The statue was in a cupboard somewhere for years and then there was so much back and forth with council,” he said.

“I was much more in favour of it being placed out the front of the council chambers, where people could see it.

“Why hide it away down an alley way, where no one can see it?

“People have been asking me, where is, where is it? And when I tell them, they say, that’s disgusting!”

In a statement (Issued at the end of last year) council’s CEO Rod Ferguson said:

“Two years ago, Mayor Andrew Willcox and council’s project team met with the artist and informed him that the most suitable site proposed for the permanent placement of the sculpture was adjacent to the public pathway, at the side of the new Proserpine Administration Building.

“At the artist’s request, council officers met with him again, earlier this year, to repeat that the location of the sculpture was considered two years ago, as part of the Proserpine Administration Building project, in 2020, and the sculpture will not be relocated from its current position.”

What do you think? Should the Rock Wallaby sculpture stay where it is or should it be moved and, if so, to where?

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