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New sculpture expresses Wandin North’s unique industries and environment

Published on 13 August 2018

Ernst Fries -sculpture - Wandin North

You may have already spotted Ernst Fries’ latest sculpture along the Warburton Highway at Wandin North, overlooking the hills and wineries.

The Yarra Valley based artist was commissioned by Yarra Ranges Council to create a concept reflecting the simplicity, power and resonance of the bustling town area.

Fries is known for creating the Bushfire Memorial at Yarra Glen, also commissioned by Council, Community Spirit, commissioned through Sherman Gallery by the former Telecom in Sydney and The Victorian Coat of Arms at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court commissioned through Aegis Fine Art.

Fries, who was instrumental in establishing the Australian National Committee for the International Association of Art (UNESCO), said the sculpture reflected Wandin North’s natural environment, industries, community spirit and diversity.

“The berry and fruit orchards are shown in a colourful and joyous presentation of an overflowing abundance with a multitude of round, coloured glass called Dalle de Verre, which will change in intensity of colour with the prevailing light and the direction of vision,” Fries said.

“I created two shapes which lean forward, carrying the abundance of the local natural recourses.

“They intersect and support each other to reflect the community spirit. My intention was to highlight the close relationship and interaction of the main contributors to the community’s livelihood.”


Ernst Fries -sculpture - Wandin North

Artist Ernst Fires, Mayor Len Cox and Reggie Clark from Art at Linden Gate 

Yarra Ranges Mayor Len Cox said the artwork was commissioned following consultation with traders, community groups, residents and visitors regarding suggested improvements to the precinct.

“Public artwork, streetscape works, footpaths, connections to the rail trail, wayfinding signage and references to the war memorial in Wandin East were identified as priorities,” Cr Cox said.

“This sculpture reminds us of the beautiful fruit orchards, berry farms and wineries which are some of the most outstanding agricultural activities taking place in Wandin North and its surrounds.

“Our community has expressed a desire to see an increase in quality arts and heritage activities in the public places where they live and this project has certainly delivered just that.”

The Yarra Ranges Cultural Policy and Action Plan (PDF, 3MB) identifies public art, festivals an performance in community spaces as a major community priority.

The installation was part of the Wandin North Streetscape Project, which included consultation with the Wandin North Traders Group.





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9 comment(s) so far...

And how much did this oddity cost us? You'll no doubt tack that on to our next rates. I find it odd you claim to have consulted with residents; I certainly did not get any input into this waste of money.

Paul12345679 | 14 August 2018 08:47 AM | Report to moderator

Hi Paul, The artwork was chosen by a committee of local community members, trader representatives and Council officers. The project cost $30K. Ernst is a renowned local artist whose projects involve 3D skilled work. You may have seen his steel work Wind Screen at City Walk in Civic, Canberra or The Victorian Coat of Arms at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court. This is a special piece of art that Wandin North can enjoy for years to come. Council's Yarra Ranges Cultural Policy and Action Plan identifies public art, festivals and performance in community spaces as a significant community priority. Thanks, Anna (site admin)

Anna Chisholm | 17 August 2018 09:08 AM | Report to moderator

Glad you explained what it was,I had no idea, I do think its a lot of money on a peice of metal and glass. Sorry im Not a fan either. The money could have been better spent in the valley

Teresa | 21 August 2018 08:34 AM | Report to moderator

I'm a local Wandin resident and I have to say I just love it. Quirky and beautiful and the way the fruit lights up when you stand with the sun behind them and looking toward the mountain range is lovely and a great photo-op. It's prominence near the highway is spot-on and should see tourists stopping to view it (and hopefully to shop). Art and sculpture are major tourist drawcards.

L.Harris | 21 August 2018 06:21 AM | Report to moderator

I too am a local resident who was also not consulted. This monstrosity does nothing to enhance the local area or reputation of Wandin and I agree it is a complete waste of money. How long will it take for this to be vandalized and become an eyesore? I am sure a responsible Council could have spent $30,000 more wisely on a more tasteful and usable community facility on that location.

Tempsh | 21 August 2018 07:09 AM | Report to moderator

While we have homeless people in the shire with footy clubs and local charities working to assist them wouldn’t the $30k have been better spent on alleviating this problem

Sevillebogan | 21 August 2018 07:50 AM | Report to moderator

Hi there, Thanks for your comment. Yarra Ranges Council is working with other neighbouring councils as part of the Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance (EAHA) to advocate to the State Government to provide more affordable housing. If you'd like to know more about the campaign, please visit: Thanks, Anna (site admin)

Anna Chisholm | 21 August 2018 05:25 PM | Report to moderator

can we have a picture of the "artpiece " so we can see what it looks like, hard to tell with 3 people being the focus

millgate | 31 August 2018 09:29 AM | Report to moderator

Hi Millgate, Please take a look at the images above. Please go check it out the sculpture for yourself next to the shopping precinct. It's quite beautiful to see the light come through the coloured glass. Thanks, Anna (site admin)

Anna Chisholm | 05 September 2018 10:11 AM | Report to moderator

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