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Milestones Sculptures

Milestone Sculpture

Paying tribute to the significance of the wheat industry in the Cootamundra and Wallendbeen areas.

It is an area that has seen some of the nation's finest high quality award winning wheat crops.

The project grew out of a major community achievement that transformed the site using the "milestone" concept. A concept, which refers to the previous mileposts that were used to mark out distances between small villages and country towns in earlier days.

In summary hundreds of people have been involved in the activities of the milestone sculpture project. The dedication and commitment of the youth and families in the district ensured the success of the milestone sculptures project.

The sculptures are made from cast concrete and use patterns that represent wheat stalks cut from compressed fibrous cement, painted in the soft colour of wheat. Each sculpture is topped with an acrylic panel inlaid with the motif of a huge head of wheat. Fibre optics have been used to light the sculptures making them visible from dusk until dawn. At night the colours of green and gold can be seen as they simulate the growth cycle and the subtle movement of a dense crop of wheat.

The committee and artist have been innovative and creative in utilising the latest technology and equipment to assist in creating the components of the structures. The inspiration for the artist came from the wonderful visual effects of the wind rippling across vast expanses of wheat. The magical effects of light and colour are orchestrated by computer and colour wheels.

The Wallendbeen Mackay Park site was chosen to have six (6) major concrete/acrylic milestones placed in a formation to provide a semblance of a wheat field.

Two of the small school time capsule milestones will be erected on the site also.

The Cootamundra site locally known as the "Five Ways" is located at the intersection of Parker/Morris/Cooper/Justin Streets on the Olympic Highway. This site has a major concrete/acrylic milestone site in front of the five school milestone time capsule milestone. Again the theme was wheat related.

Both sites utilise the fibre optic technology for lighting. This is a very exciting concept that add to the impact of the sites and make them unique, as this lighting will change the colour of the milestones to represent the different colour of the wheat throughout the season.

Artist Dawn Elrington was commissioned to prepare the concept and detailed drawings of the two projects proposed. Dawn Elrington was responsible for the project management and manufacture of the sculptures and was heavily involved with the acrylic panels, fibre optic lighting and in the construction of the final sites.

Mrs J Roberts primary role was with community liaison, local business financial coordination and working with local schools.

Mrs. Roberts arranged and facilitated four school workshops involving 176 students and approximately 20 adults.

The reinforced concrete bases, designed to support the acrylics have been manufactured in the Cootamundra "Concrete Kid" Factory in conjunction with the Four School Workshops. These activities involved a total of 100 student who constructed the seven small concrete milestones that will contain the time capsules from each school.

The acrylic works were completed in the Lasermade Pty. Ltd. factory under Dawn Elrington's supervision and guidance. The opal acrylic fretts were cut utilising a laser technique and then laminated into large 12mm thick sheets.

Compressed concrete fretts have been manufactured with lasers in the Lasermade Pty Ltd. Factory, again to Dawn Elrington's specification. These frets were fixed to the front of all the milestones. The smaller school fretts represent ears of wheat, the larger concrete bases have a frett that represent wheat stalks in a field.

Jim Welsh has represented the Australian Company Diglins, at the forefront of this technology, at workshops conducted at both sites.

A total of three (3) workshops have been conducted to determine the location of the lighting and how this unique lighting can be utilised on each component of the site to maximize the effect. These workshops involved 18 people.

The civil works have been completed at the Cootamundra site. Community groups such as the Cootamundra Cadas Kids and the Cootamundra Native Plant Society undertook the soft landscaping, with a large majority of the plants being donated.