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121 Volunteers our Backbone – Public Sculpture


As promised here is a bit more about The Centenary of Federation Gateway sculpture, this time I want to tell you about the wonderful community spirit that helped to make this project possible.

ceramic and mosaic wall based public sculpture part of the centenary of federation gateway in South Australia,depicting volunteers of all descriptions from St Johns to Red Cross, Apex and the Lions

We salute you our volunteers!

You may want to recap to Stories of the Wall, to see main structure of this sculpture, although images of the sculptured fence are yet to come, in another  art blog.


This ceramic and mosaic artwork depict of some of the individuals, schools and service clubs they represent, on parade and without them this project would never have been possible at all.   Because there were so many individuals who selflessly spent hours and hours helping on this project I cannot mention each one individually but you all know who you are – and I Thank you so very much.


There literally were groups all over the district doing their bit towards the project, all the way from school children who interviewed the old folk in the age care facilities and homes.   Schools, child care,  kindies, church groups and others who got together to mosaic the farm animals on the fences (that lead out from the sculptured wall) to a regular bunch of arts and craft enthusiasts that regularly met at my studio to mosaic the background to my ceramic images.  We got a lot of work done all the while chatting and laughing and drinking cups of coffee together, a nice little interlude for me a normally solitary artist to have some company.


Not to mention the team of dedicated individuals that poured and fired the tiles that made up the “veranda’ area in front of the sculpture and also ran workshops where the towns people could paint their own stories on individual tiles.  Yes nearly everyone in the local district was involved in this project from the tiniest babies who had their hands and feet imprinted on the tiles to the CEO of the Wakefield Council Phil Barry who so enthusiastically supported it.

I must say that I was very saddened indeed to hear that Phil just recently lost his fight against a brain tumour, something that shocked the whole town.  Phil Barry truly was a wonderful and caring man not only to his own family and friends but to the whole town.  Rest in peace Phil, we will always remember you.


That community spirit is something that I miss now that I live in the “big smoke” again, everyone are always ready to lend a hand.  There were so many times I was surprised at the generosity of the country people, just imagine the surprise a bunch of us got when the lady living opposite the sculpture (who also worked as a full time primary school teacher, mind you) suddenly appeared with afternoon tea and freshly baked scones, lashings of cream and jam for all the workers.

Dale Gathercole the project co-ordinator whose book “Stories behind the wall” which was published to coincide with the opening of the sculpture said; “ In 2001, the International Year of the Volunteer, to each and every one of you who has selflessly served, a sincere Thank you.”

So here is another quote about volunteering by Elizabeth Andrew that I think fits in perfectly here;

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.

Till next time happy painting and sculpting and volunteering to you all,

Love Marie xxxx

If you enjoyed this Public Art blog you may also enjoy this one;  77 Book stack water feature Sculpture

Why not come and have a look at Marie Jonsson-Harrison’s PAINTINGS FOR SALEGICLEE PRINTS FOR SALE and SCULPTURES for sale or WALLBASED SCULPTURES.  Enjoy an original artwork on your walls or perhaps one on your bed ARTnBED.

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