But was I REALLY such a philistine I’d mistake Thargomindah’s landmark sculpture for an unfinished public toilet?
Fredrick White Sculpture, Thargomindah
But in my defence, from a distance, the poles glinting in the sunlight by the side of the road DID kind of look like an unfinished building. Especially as the sculpture hadn’t been there on our first visit 2 years before.
However, when we stopped for a closer look, I was able to give Frederick White’s ‘Drawing Water’ not only the attention, but the appreciation it so rightly deserves. Its 52 poles symbolise the 4,700 bores delivering a reliable source of water to Outback OZ – without which the area would be uninhabitable for much of the year.
A bore’s average depth of 500m – Thargomindah’s water was first found at 808m – is represented by reflective discs in the centre. Ironically, these were covered in dust in June 2011, with no sign of the floods that isolated the town for several months earlier in the year!
But the foresight of Thargomindah’s early settlers – third in the world (and first in OZ) behind London and Paris with hydro-electric street lighting, and first in OZ with reticulated water – mean the effects of the presence or absence of water are minimised.
Drawing Water – Close Up
However, the nearby, still-operational hydro power plant and cooling ponds – water is around 85ºC when it reaches the surface – are reminders of this isolated town’s water self-sufficiency. The sculpture’s setting in grass, dry ground or dust also reflects recent weather conditions.
Light reflecting and sparkling on polished surfaces and shadows cast by the poles are part of the sculpture’s beauty – perhaps a further reminder of alternative, less reliable water sources such as rain, the nearby Bulloo river and Lake Bindegolly.
And all these factors combine to make this eye-catching work of art FAR more fascinating – and important – than just another amenities block!!
I’ve linked this post to Scenic Sunday – hop on over there for more fabulous Sunday Scenes from around the world!!