Long time tribute installed on The Long Paddock
Images from left to right – The Woodcutters, The Barge, Cut and Smoko.
Artworks should start a conversation – so the saying goes, and this week The Long Paddock Committee (LPC) are hoping to start a few conversations with visitors about the timber industry in the region with the installation of four major public artworks across the touring route.
In 2011, The LPC received funding through the Riverina Red Gum Regional Employment and Community Development Fund to undertake its Tribute to Timber project. The project involves the installation of four public artworks along the route, within the Murray, Deniliquin and Conargo Shires that will celebrate the significance of the region’s timber heritage.
Community consultations were held across the Shires to gather information about the timber industry and what it means to the local community. This information was used to invite submissions from artists for the sculpture designs.
Two artists were commissioned to design, build and install the artworks across the southern end of The Long Paddock – Cobb Highway Touring Route. Jonathan Leahy was commissioned to install “Cut” in Deniliquin with Geoff Hocking commissioned to install “Smoko” at Pretty Pine in the Conargo Shire, with “The Woodcutters” and “ The Barge” at Mathoura and Moama respectively. Both of the artists have previously worked with the Long Paddock Committee on the ARTback – sculptures of The Long Paddock project in 2009. The project is worth $103 000 and aims to encourage further visitation to the region
All of the sculptures are designed to pay tribute to the significant economic and social contribution of the timber industry to the region. “ It is fitting that the new sculptures are designed to bring visitors to the region, so that the timber industry’s significant regional economic contribution continues” said Peter McCrabb, President of the LPC . “ The Long Paddock sculptures are well known and the four new artworks will ensure the collection continues to attract visitors to our region” Mr McCrabb added.
The Moama sculpture “The Barge” depicts the often “happy” barge masters who moved the sawn logs to the wharves at Echuca. In Mathoura, a timber town, timber cutters are depicted using various tools in “The Woodcutters” – it also depicts the skill of timber cutters in managing the forests. In Denilquin, “Cut” depicts a giant cross bench saw slicing through a piece of redgum while at Pretty Pine “Smoko” depicts a timber cutter relaxing on a red gum log. The pieces reflect the traditions and stories of the timber industry as told by the local communities.