Sculptures give town pre-centenary spruce up

Kate PollardCountryman

Ongerup's small community is getting ready for its biggest party on record - centenary celebrations in October.

The area has come a long way since early pioneering days when 10 shillings bought an acre.

Now it's home to more than 150 people and is a modern farming region.

But like all small towns, the main street needed a bit of a spruce-up ahead of the celebrations.

Local Jan Slee came up with the idea to tie the town's agricultural history into a modern sculpture project after seeing what communities in South Australia were doing with corrugated iron.

With help from artist Voytek Kozlowski, a John Deere cultivator bar, seeder tines, points, chain, springs and other machinery parts have been given a second lease of life and used in more than eight sculptures.

Most of the parts have come from a local farming family, the Jackels.

Mrs Slee said the project and celebrations also tied in well with Year of the Farmer celebrations.

The sculptures were made up in three stages and will add interest to a line of salmon gums.

"The first stage is a kangaroo and joey with a grevillea newbey, discovered by and named after local Ken Newbey," Mrs Slee said.

"We went for a kangaroo first because Ongerup means 'place of the male kangaroo'.

"Originally we did not think we would be having three stages and wanted the first to represent what Ongerup is named after, then came the rest."

Using donations from past and present residents and the Shire of Gnowangerup, almost $14,000 was raised for the sculpture project.

Stage two - farming and agriculture - includes a windmill, made out of a clutch pressure plate centre with scarifer points, as well as a dog and a sheep.

The final stage represents family and community, with a sculpture of a mum, dad and child made out of metal, copper being donated by local roadhouse owners Kevin and Laura Ferrell.

Next native plants and other features, like jam post fences and corrugated iron, will be added to highlight the sculptures.

Ongerup's centenary will be held on October 13 and 14.

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For more information visit www.ongerupcentenary.com.au

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