Gregory Hills recently lodged a development application with Camden Council for the remaining public art works proposed for Gregory Hills. Subject to Council approval, the artworks will be installed as the remaining parks in Gregory Hills are delivered over the next two years.
Public art is important as we build the Gregory Hills community, it is a way we can express our shared community values as well as enhance our environment and transform the landscape. It is there for everyone to share, a form of collective community expression.
The designers of the public art works at Gregory Hills have adhered to principles of connection and activation, form and desire combined with pieces while being respectful to heritage and history. Gregory Hills is excited to be in the planning stages with designer Dean Boone and his team at Distinctive to deliver up to 15 new public artworks spread throughout the Gregory Hills community.
“The importance of public art lies in its ability to connect and engage across a broad cross section of the community and speak to the individual, or to a large group of people, at the same time.”
The new artworks will be focused around four main topics – Thomas Donovan, The Marist Brothers, Mount St. Gregory and St Gregory’s College. Here is an early look at the pieces that will become a fixed part of the Gregory Hills landscape.
Name: Thomas Donovan
Location: Thomas Donovan Park
Thomas Donovan was a well to do gentleman, with an everlasting thirst for knowledge and a selfless benefactor. His endowment of monies for the establishment of a chapel at Mount St Gregory and then for the establishment of the Marist college are the corner stones of the college and a part of the history of this land. This 2.2m high art piece depicting Thomas Donovan is in recognition of his positive influence and contributions.
Name: Boy Farmer
Location: Gregory Hills Amphitheatre
The Boy Farmer is an expression of the desire of Thomas Donovan to establish a farming school for destitute boys who would be trained in agricultural skills. The land this piece will stand upon was purchased by Thomas Donovan with the college, opened in 1923 in conjunction with the Marist brothers. The naming of this piece is inspired by the school’s annual magazine from 1950 titled ‘the boy farmer’.
“The boy farmer is a symbol of the agricultural history and reminds us of some of the aspirations of this land.”
Name: Apple and the Needle
Location: Marcellin Park
The life of Marcellin Champagnat was a crusade to rescue poor children and help improve their lives through care and education. There is a Marist legend regarding Champagnat and his teachings about spreading the word of God throughout the whole of the earth – represented by him in the form of a giant apple with a needle passing through it. This legend is the inspiration for the artwork, representing the good fortune of many people.
Location: La Valla Park
Unfurling is an expression of the hydrology and movement of water in the landscape. The experience of the unfolding of an individual plant, fern or leaflet in response to the addition of water and how we as humans, and as a community, are all connected to the fundamental element. This sculptures location is a topographical crest that drains gently as a land form into the beginnings of a tributary of the South Creek. ‘Unfurling’ represents the concepts of humanities connection to the natural landscape.
Name: Cultural View
Location: Gregory Hills Park
The colonial landscape of the Cowpastures region, that has evolved into the towns and suburbs we know of today, were and are defined by the many large estates and homesteads that were established in this area. Each colonial mansion maintained at least one view line to another large estate so that if they were ever in need they could signal for assistance. These view lines and corridors remain largely intact with townships and prominent buildings evolving in between.
Location: Bunya Park
Bunya is a sculptural representation of the seed pods produced by the Bunya Pine. The Bunya tree was planted on this site by the Marist Brothers, its seed pod is a symbol of new life, growth and change. As this tree has grown, the landscape around it has changed and evolved. The community that now surrounds this tree is a part of its collective history, outlasting the people who live in its shadow.
Location: Cunningham Park
Gathering is an expression of the many language groups and tribal boundaries that were apparent in this area, prior to and during European settlement. The symbol of the Lyrebird is significant to the Dharawal Lands, whose people helped and worked alongside the early colonial settlers. The tail feathers of the Lyrebird are interpreted in this sculptural piece and is intended to pay tribute in honour of the Aboriginal people of this land.
Name: Cumberland Plain Land Snail
Location: South Creek Riparian Corridor
The Cumberland Plain Land Snail is a symbol for reflection. A simple, unassuming creature with little colour or intrigue and easily overlooked. However, this tiny snail, endemic and only found in the Woodland Ecosystems of Western Sydney is endangered, as is its whole ecosystem. The land snail is a reminder that the destruction of ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity hurts us all. The preservation and conservation of these unique places is critical to our own survival.
Location: Saunders Park
Endure is a message, a statement, a goal for others to aspire too. Never give up, to focus on, to give it your all and above all to transcend adversity so that you can create a better life for yourself. The ability to achieve, to grow and to adapt is within us all and it takes many threads of knowledge, experience and a life of learning to do so. Life itself is about learning and the aspirations of the Marist Brothers imparted to the students of St Gregory’s College and the desire to help others in achieving that goal imparted by Thomas Donovan are cornerstone values for any successful individual, family and this community.
Location: Gregory Hills Park
Junctions is a celebration of the rich sporting history of St Gregory’s College and is located close to the new sporting facilities of Gregory Hills. The sporting houses of the college and their credo’s are recorded here as a celebration of the aspirations the college gave in encouraging and supporting the sporting abilities of many of its students. The inspirational quotes and the legacy they convey are collated in a landscape architecture sculptural form that is intended to enable visitors to reflect and ponder their own aspirations – sporting or otherwise.
Location: Currawong Park
Currawong is a playful and colourful look at a bird species found right along the eastern seaboard of Australia and spotted in and around the Gregory Hills area. The park is named after this group of birds which contains a large stand of endemic trees, shading the playground area. The art piece and embellishment is a reminder of our connection to the landscape and the importance of the preservation of our natural environment.
Location: Gregory Hills Town Centre
The collection of works has been developed from the broad concepts of Thomas Donovan. The quotes and lines of many famous Shakespearean plays project a universal aspiration and wish of learning for greatness, betterment and the good of all. This is then also told in the context of the history of the rural and agricultural setting and landholding of St Gregory’s College, the Marist Brothers, and is combined to create a strong cultural identity for the residents of Gregory Hills, defining and telling the history of the land they now live on, reflecting on its history and its future.
Name: Mount St. Gregory
Location: Howard Park
The undulating rise and fall of the Scenic Hills Ridgeline is a constant backdrop to the lives and people living in the valleys and floodplains below it. The sculpture is a direct conversation about the movement of European settlers through, in and around the Scenic Hills since the discovery and naming of the Cowpastures in 1795. The early interactions within the undulating forms, and the dominant presence of the peaks along the ridgeline, are expressed in this sculptural piece.
“There are always many stories to tell and relating the history, the character and important events associated with any location is what makes public art an unveiling and intriguing experience.”