Stanley – “The Big Bird”
En route to Lightning Ridge, after many a mile of arid, bushy, massive countryside...........
............. you suddenly come up to Stanley on the right.
“It’s no secret Aussies like to build big things.....” A story taken from Outback, a leaflet produced for Lightning Ridge visitors.
With a ton of scrap metal, three collected Volkswagen bodies and a pair of rusting satellite dishes sculpted into a colossal Emu standing at eighteen metres tall towering over the Castlereagh Highway – artist John Murray from Lightning Ridge has certainly trumped the “Big Things” register with this jaw dropping, traffic stopping big bird sculpture “Stanley.”
Whilst travelling along the lonesome Birdsville Track back in 2007 John began to envision a massive emu statue looming over the road ahead of him. John began to draft ideas into a plan to build Stanley out of scrap metal. This idea soon grew to be the vehicle for some quality bush style male bonding! A public art installation of gigantic proportions. As momentum grew the vehicle picked up more volunteering passengers. First to jump on board was Tim Parsons, the welder and co creator of the sculpture. Whilst visiting John’s Gallery, Tim saw the conceptual painting of Stanley and fell in love with the idea, he uttered the words “Gee I’d love to be involved in that” – these words have become the catch-cry of everyone involved in the creation of “The Big Bird”.
Next to join the venture was Stan Single, Stanley’s namesake. Stan donated and sourced VW bodies and recycled steel from the Dubbo Police Station for Stanley’s legs.
Soon willing locals came forth wanting to be part of the project – Lightning Ridge is famous for its “can-do” attitude, never waiting for things to happen, rather making them happen. And this became evident once again as Stanley took place. All of the workers, labour, steel, VW’s, materials – pretty much everything involved in the venture – were donated.
“Stanley” provided all the ingredients for the perfect blokes adventure; a four year blur of vintage vehicles salvaged from old sheds, rusty hunks of recycled steel, welding, trucks, cranes, drilling rigs. Not to mention the beers as the sun went down and the sculpture landed on his feet in September 2012.
Stanley has sparked the interest of everyone and got other thinking “I can do that.” The team are excited to announce that “Sculpture by the Highway” is coming – you will soon see incredible sculptures of all kinds trailing you along the Castlereagh Highway, and who knows even beyond. This has the capacity to be HUGE, watch this space!!!
“Sculptures by the Highway” is proudly supported by the Walgett Shire Council.
ALL IN ALL CERTAINLY A BIG BIRD
AN INTERESTING USE OF A VW BEETLE