Official unveiling of 'The Drovers'
Mayor Warren; councillors; ladies and gentlemen.
In Brisbane, on Ann Street, people are pausing in their morning commute to look around in puzzlement and ask themselves where their whimsical white statues have gone.
This engaging artwork has been part of the capital’s streetscape for 30 years, and now it has found a new home here in Longreach.
From Ann Street, Brisbane, to Eagle Street, Longreach, is a long journey, and the arrival of The Drovers forms the next chapter in the sculpture’s rich history.
The statues are part of The Human Factor sculptures by John Underwood, the wildly popular series created specially for Brisbane World Expo ‘88.
In contrast to other esoteric works of art on display, the series was deliberately created to be immediately relatable and the artworks were placed at strategic points throughout the vast venue – one constant amid the whirling kaleidoscope of entertainers.
It is pleasing to have The Drovers fully repaired and re-homed in the year Queensland celebrates the 30th anniversary of Expo.
It is particularly fitting that the sculpture should have found its way to Longreach.
The subject matter reflects the regional significance of Longreach, along with themes of mateship and Queensland spirit – themes which remain as relevant today as they were back in 1988.
In the years to follow, I hope the sculpture will come to mean as much to the community of Longreach as another celebrated statue by John Underwood, that of the great Wally Lewis, does to all fans of rugby league outside Suncorp Stadium.
I congratulate the Longreach Council on its commitment to art and the beautification of the towns across the region.
I particularly commend them for their initiative in creating the Street Sculpture Competition.
Public art plays a central role in the cultural and conversational life of a town, enriching the community and bringing public spaces to life.
The Drovers delighted millions at Expo, and has now come to delight a new generation in Longreach, where it will continue to be an important part of our State’s cultural heritage.
Today I look forward to officially welcoming The Drovers to your community by unveiling a plaque commemorating its move to Longreach.
I leave these men in a caring and compassionate community, and I look forward to re-visiting them when I am next in Longreach!