Should you find yourself passing through Moruya, it is an interesting exercise to locate and photograph the pole carvings. To assist your search, here is a mudmap on where to find them. NB Be careful, to obtain good photos of some it is necessary to step onto the edge of the road, which can be busy. Note also that the school does not seem to welcome visitors (see Off the Beaten Track tip), so it may be advisable to check first with them to seek approval to view that particular pole.
* translation of ‘Australian’ for overseas readers: a ‘mudmap’ is a sketch map.
The Museum, in Campbell Street near the Apex Park, occupies a building built as duplex terrace houses in 1875 for a local merchant and his son. This is a building style seen more in inner Sydney or Melbourne. That aside, the museum is operated by the local Historical Society and is open daily from 1100 to 1500 in January and, for the balance of the year, from 1100 to 1500 Wednesdays to Fridays and 1100 to 1300 on Saturdays. The museum’s Genealogy Room holds extensive records for family research, reputedly among the best outside the capital cities.
Local craftsman Bryan Carrick created the eleven pole carvings which now add interest to the streets of Moruya. Despite some research, I have been able to find out little about them other than their names, the artist, and the fact that they were financed by public donations and council funds: one was even part funded by the High School and now is located there. They are carved from large baulks of local hardwood timbers and most have what appears to be an epoxy coating, making them very dark.
The Pelagic Fish (carving No 8) appealed most to me, probably because it has a lightness about it which I feel some of the others lack. The photos of the other ten pole carvings are in the two attached travelogues. If you would like to acquire such a carving, you can find out more on the artist’s website at www.auzpiciousarts.com.au .
The courthouse is one of Moruya’s older surviving buildings. It dates to 1881, at a time when the vogue was to erect substantial buildings and when Moruya became the administrative centre for the area. We can admire it as a stylish old building, though possibly those using it may have more on their minds than architecture! There also are other buildings from this period.
Although it's from a somewhat later period (1939 to be exact), I've always admired the Monarch Hotel as a classic piece of 'Art Deco' architecture. You will find a photo of it in the background to the 'Pelagic Fish' sculpture (see separate tip).
It’s unlikely that most people, other than those who are more or less 'locals', would even know about Moruya. Yet most people around the world have seen a “bit of Moruya” at some time without realising it. You don’t believe me? OK, hold your hand up if you have seen a photo of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Everyone has their hands up? The granite used for the pylons in the Harbour Bridge was quarried at Moruya and taken by ship to Sydney. There were two quarries for the fine-grained blue granite, which also was used in many Sydney buildings – the largest single block weighed 20 tonnes and was used for the base of Sydney’s Cenotaph. The granite industry faded away during the great depression of 1931, however it is commemorated by this memorial.
We were grabbing some afternoon tea & a coffee after working hard all day.
Noticed this as we sat down outside & wondered if it was a one off, or one of a series of carvings.
Research after I got home revealed that this was just one of a series. Apparenly the guy who did them is Bryan Carrick. If you get down here make sure you keep your eyes pealed as you drive around town. You may be lucky enough to see one of the following:
Mountains to the Sea - situated at Moruya High School
Pelagic Fish - situated at the corner of Church and Vulcan Streets
Footballer - situated in Mirrabooka Avenue
Little Mermaid - situated in the Apex Park
Gold Miner - situated in the Apex Park
Dolphins - situated outside the Air Raid Tavern in Vulcan Street
Snake - situated in Vulcan Street
The Jazz Man - situated near the Monarch Hotel
Aboriginal Man - situated in Vulcan Street
Black Swans - situated in Vulcan Street
The Seapole - situated in Vulcan Street
It'd great to see how these small local communities around the state have enhanced their local areas artistically. Up at Harrington, on the mid north coast, a local artist has painted the lower 3-4 metres of all the wooden poles supporting the power lines.
The Bush Orchestra is about 2km west of the highway of Ted Hunt Terrace, this is a guided forest walk with the music provided by the abundant birdlife- the bellbirds, lorikeets, bowerbirds and cockatoos.