Monument marks Muttaburra central

Public art marks centre of Queensland and 130 years of rain


Life & Style
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Muttaburra's adoption of public art as a feature of the town has extended to its claim as the centre of Queensland, marked in steel with a detailed map and rainfall record.

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A front-on view of the monument. The discs made by school children in the seating area are in the foreground.

A front-on view of the monument. The discs made by school children in the seating area are in the foreground.

Muttaburra's adoption of public art as a feature of the town has extended to its claim as the centre of Queensland, marked in steel with a detailed map and rainfall record.

The eye-catching design sits on top of the rise that the old hospital, now the Dr Arratta Memorial Museum, was built on.

As well as depicting the various elements that are special to the central western town via a map of Queensland that stands out on the horizon, the vagaries of 130 years of rainfall can be seen at a glance in front of it.

The steel rainfall graph shows how the district's annual rain has varied over the years.

The steel rainfall graph shows how the district's annual rain has varied over the years.

It's the work of Rob Turner, the chaplain for the Muttaburra and Ilfracombe State Schools, who has a building design background.

After he designed a garden complex for the Muttaburra school grounds, the local community development association asked if he'd design them something to enhance the cherished reputation as the centre of the state.

Related: Muttaburra sculpts a feast for the eyes

Mr Turner said despite having no public art experience he came up with a variety of options including a large dam structure and a sundial, but the winning one was simple and told a direct story rather than being cryptic.

The base of the monument has concentric circles and lines radiating out, which pays tribute to the indigenous heritage behind the town's name, Mootaburra, meaning Meeting of the Waters.

Pathways radiating out from the monument help bring out the Meeting of the Waters theme of the town's name.

Pathways radiating out from the monument help bring out the Meeting of the Waters theme of the town's name.

The monument itself displays a circle with a tail in the shape of a Q, a table with plates depicting outback hospitality, water lines, the blades of a windmill or the rays of the sun depending on your view, and the corner of a fenced paddock, all of which represented Muttaburra to the committee.

Discs on the U-shaped seating were created by school students' handprints. All of it was made with the intention of being maintenance-free.

Mr Turner said construction began 14 months ago and had been a real community endeavour, funded by the Barcaldine Shire Council, a Gambling Community Benefit Fund, and from some local groups.

People can now buy a paver and add their name to the historic record.

As for its location 17km east of the surveyed centre of Queensland, Mr Turner said when the survey was done it didn't include the islands along the coastline.

"We suggest if they were included, the centre would move more or less to where our monument is," he laughed.

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