The Illustrated Town

First, some protocol.  Locals can say “Kurri” but you and I are advised to say “Kurri Kurri.”

Image ~ Kind permission of Chris Fussell

One warm May in 2008, two impatient passengers homewards from Hunter Valley Gardens were seconded in a photographer’s painstaking attempt to record Kurri Kurri’s fine collection of street art. But they weren’t too troubled by a leisurely lunch at the RSL, perfect weather, frontier architecture, elegantly decorated buildings, and the restful ambiance of an iconic Australian country town.

It was – as you can see – a magnificent clear Autumn day with deep blue skies. Shimmering sunlight stretched generous streets ever wider, footpaths spread like roadways, roads became broad avenues, and town parks flowed like rural landscape.

Although the bright overhead sun added brick, weatherboard, or ironwork textured shadows to variously clad walls, and the sun manoeuvred to place them in relative darkness, too strong a light – or, if perfectly lit, induce overwhelming lens flare from the only feasible angle – overall it was a lucky day’s photo shoot.

If these are my complaints, appreciate the willing artists whose weeks in assorted weather wove this craftwork before the world’s severest art critic: the squarely-grounded citizen of Kurri Kurri.

Please visit Kurri Kurri’s website for an overview of the town and its attractions.

And visit the town of murals website for information of guided tours – walking, coach, and with meal. There you will also find a numbered-location map.

Where are the close-ups?

As always, original artwork is artist’s copyright, while photographs are copyright NewcastleOnHunter.com. And, ever, the disclaimer that a streetscape containing copyrighted icons or art is fair use, but full-frame reproduction of it is a grey area dependent on ‘re-use.’  Since this website is non-profit, no-advertising, personal work and reproduces art displayed in public space – assuming Kurri Kurri is not within a national park or the precincts of Uluru – well, there they are.

Artist Chris Fussell making final touches to his giant kookaburra. Image ~ Kind permission of Chris Fussell

Last word from NewcastleOnHunter’s old news site 26 December 2009, this letter from Chris:

Kurri Kurri Joins Big Critter Town’s List

I was commissioned to make a Kookaburra for Kurri Kurri by ‘Town with Heart’ & ‘Tidy Towns’ after they saw the 3 meter-wingspan crow I made for the front entrance to our property,” said Chris.

I began the Kookaburra sculpture more than a year ago and the final pour of concrete was executed last week [early December, 2009].

The Kookaburra is 3m in length & stands on a 2m concrete plinth, (a casting of a Spotted Gum tree from a tree in our front paddock) the sculpture being 4.5 m in height.

The Kookaburra was made from white car bonnets for white feathers and rusting steel for the brown feathers. It was intended to be realistic yet retain the “steel quality” of the material it was made from.

The eyes are made from glass lenses from aviation obstruction lights, as used on the boundaries on runways. The Kookaburra was consolidated, lined with concrete on the interior.

The  fifteen foot high Kookaburra was unveiled on 14 December by Kerry Hickey. Town with Heart & Tidy Towns commissioned Chris to construct the sculpture, financed largely by Hydra Aluminium as a gift to the town to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Kurri Kurri uses the Kookaburra as a mascot for the town and is present in all the 51 murals around the town.



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