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The Bidgee Riverside Sculpture Trail

Adventures
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Take your time and explore the artwork bringing the Murrumbidgee River to life.

Cutting through the town of Hay, the Murrumbidgee River as oasis in the Outback. The banks of the river – which is affectionately known as Bidgee – provide ample opportunities for camping, picnicking and barbecues, with the river red gums offering a serene ambiance. More recently, the river also hosts the Bidgee Riverside Sculpture Trail, a peaceful and meandering track dotted with sculptures by artists John Wood and John Wooller. Explore this cultural trail for yourself and uncover the history of the area with the help of the adjoining informative plaques.

GATEWAY ENTRANCE

This entry way sculpture is linked to the ‘Simmos Seat’ sculpture, which highlights the necessity of skilled trades for isolated communities to survive.

Evident in this sculpture are every day functional items that blacksmith Thomas Simpson would have been called upon to make, such as chain links, bolts and gate hinges.

The chain links are symbolic of the tenacity within the communities of Hay and surrounds from the pioneering days of the 1800s through to our modern age. Chain links represent strength, unity and functionality – there could be no weak links for a community like this to develop.

The hinges and gateway mark the entry point to the Riverside Cultural Trail, as well as the Long Paddock, Hay and beyond.

Artist: John Wood.

LANG’S CROSSING

This sculpture, ‘Lang’s Crossing’, is an interpretation of the three stages in the historical development of crossing the river, the establishment of the Cobb Highway and the Long Paddock.

It depicts a cross-section through the river. At the lowest level, ‘wheel tracks’ on the river bed represent the earliest crossing by ford at a point just downstream from this location. In times of flooding, crossing was difficult or impossible. Transport was unreliable.

Above that is a representation of the punt that was later brought into service as a safer and more convenient means of transporting people and goods across the river. Ultimately, a bridge soars clear over the water, making its crossing independent of the vagaries of the river itself.

Artist: John Wooller.

BARK CANOE SEAT

The canoe sculpture seat explores the surrounding river and bushland. This artwork shows how bark from the Red Gum trees was used to make river vessels, shields and other functional essential items. Bark canoes required much skill in their construction and were held together by forked sticks to help for the finished shape at the bark naturally dried.

Artist: John Wood.

MURRUMBIDGEE LANDSCAPES

This sculpture, ‘Murrumbidgee Landscapes’, depicts the two types of landscape surrounding the town of Hay. Under the influence of the early settlers the natural landscape was transformed from its relatively unproductive state to one of intensive, irrigated production.

The sculpture depicts the meandering rivers of the Shire of Hay, the major ones being the Murrumbidgee and the Lachlan. Over the centuries the irregular, unpredictable forces of nature caused the rivers to change course, leaving behind billabongs and pools where once they flowed across the flat, sandy plain.

This sculpture is a dedication to the farming community of Hay and its surrounds whose foresight created the settled landscape from a harsh and unforgiving one.

Artist: John Wooller.

COBB’S WHEELS

This sculpture pays homage to the importance of the company Cobb and Co. to the history of Hay, its place on the Cobb Highway and The Long Paddock. The sculpture also pays tribute to all those people who struggled on foot and with wheeled vehicles to open up this part of the inland and establish the prosperous Hay community. Whilst the coaches were pulled by horses, changed at the various stages placed along the route, the commercial vehicles were pulled by bullocks.

The particular arrangement of these seven wheels and axles, one stuck in the ground, one with a broken rim, one with a missing spoke and one with a broken axle, evokes the problems faced by the Company. Along with all early settlers and other pioneers who travelled the rough tracks in wheeled vehicles it acknowledges their fortitude, persistence, determination and stoicism in overcoming the harsh conditions under which they struggled to survive and prosper, and eventually triumphed over.

Artist: John Wooller.

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