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‘Daggy looking junk’: Agricultural artwork slammed by Murray Bridge councillors
The council has been planning to celebrate the district's agricultural heritage with a sculpture, but councillors aren't a fan of the proposed design.
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Councillors have slammed a proposed agricultural artwork for Murray Bridge, with one calling it “daggy looking junk”.
A concept design for a sculpture honouring the district’s farming pioneers was presented to Murray Bridge councillors on Monday night.
Cr Clem Schubert – a life-long farmer – said he was shocked and appalled by the design.
“We have a very great history in this community, very diverse,” he said.
“The Murraylands grows grain, wool, wheat, veggies, orchards, on and on, and that’s rare.
“I felt very saddened to think that this hillbilly bloody sketch … that that’s the way we acknowledge the pioneers that built this country back in the 1880s.”
Cr John DeMichele and Cr Andrew Baltensperger both agreed, saying it lacked any “wow” factor.
Artists Laura Wills and William Cheesman, of Wills Projects, described their proposal – given the working title Until the cows come home – as a celebration of agriculture in Murray Bridge.
The leaf-shaped sculpture would feature a map of the area on its surface, with the River Murray to be illuminated at night, and a farmyard scene on top.
The design was chosen from a shortlist of four by a sub-committee of local residents and arts staff.
If councillors had approved, the council would have gone ahead and installed the sculpture on Olympic Drive, Murray Bridge, near the former Ridley feed mill.
But Cr Airlie Keen said the public deserved a chance to have their say first, as they had with a proposed silo mural which is still in the works.
“If we don’t do this correctly, we sell our community short,” she said.
“This is an important piece of commemorative art that has come to us from a respected farmer in our community whose family history dates back to the beginning of European history here.
“It’s important that we get it right and that we ensure the money spent on this project is seen as valuable and worthwhile to our community.”
The council will launch a public consultation process in the coming weeks.
Farmer Robert Thiele’s original concept, brought to the council in 2020, was for a windmill with various cut-outs around it to represent the district’s agricultural output.
Council staff came back last year and suggested honouring local farming pioneers with a refurbishment of the Captain’s Cottage Museum, but councillors said no, that was not what they had asked for, either.