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Art Treasure Hunt in Rockingham

Did you know Rockingham has some beautiful and creative pieces of art all around town just waiting to be discovered and admired? Me neither, until I grabbed a map from the Tourism Rockingham office and went exploring. The recent dismal weather has made getting out and about a little difficult, however, a couple of weeks ago I took the opportunity in between rain showers to head down to the Village Green with my dog Dusti to find these pieces of artwork. We parked in the carpark behind the Dome café, where the Sunday Rotary mart is held and worked our way anticlockwise around the park (dogs are welcome at the Village Green if they are leashed).

Our first treasure discover was “The Wave” – In the middle of a small lake sits a stunning and detailed metal sculpture in the shape of a wave. Andrew Kay, the artist behind this creative piece incorporated seals jumping, boats sailing, and surfers riding the wave to capture and represent the charms of Rockingham.

The Wave – Andrew Kay, 2005

As we walked around the park, we headed towards the Rockingham RSL memorial, designed by McNally Newton, Landscape of Architects in honour of ANZAC soldiers past and present. The memorial is made up of fourteen stone pillars representing the major conflicts Australia participated in, one of the pillars left empty to represent and show respect for our fallen soldiers.

Two of the fourteen stone pillars towards the entrance of the memorial are guarded by two bronzed soldiers with swords, sculpted by Andrew Kay. The three branches of the Australian Defence Force, Army, Air Force and Navy, are represented by a QF 25 pounder field gun a propeller and an anchor (yes, I may have googled this). The memorial is popular on ANZAC day where people gather for the local dawn service.

Rockingham RSL Memorial, 2005

Next, we discovered the Hull. Representing the important role Rockingham port took part in transporting timber from Jarrahdale and other surrounding forests to the rest of the world. The Hull at first glance may look more like a bench, but the timber seating on top is a reminder of all the people who have walked or fished from the jetty. If you’re interested, there’s a plaque on the back of the Hull explaining the representation in detail.

Hull – Jon Denaro and Tich Dixon, 2008

Continuing our way around the park we decided to cross the carpark to the Rockingham Arts Centre. My eyes straight away caught sight of the colourful mural on the side of the building, designed by Jacq Chorlton, the mural is thirty meters long and very eye catching bringing the whole area to life. I’m not joking about bringing the mural to life, if you download the app ‘EyeJack’ and hold your phone up to the mural, something very cool happens, I’m not going to tell you because that will ruin it, you’ll have to go and try it for yourself. I haven’t been able to find out what the mural represents, however it does remind me of the Wagyl otherwise known as the Rainbow Serpent, a colourful snakelike creature known to the Indigenous people and thought to have created the Swan and Canning Rivers and other landforms. It’s worth noting that the EyeJack app also works at the Catalpa memorial, located between the foreshore and Palm Beach and the Mooriburdup Mural, located under the lookout at the Rockingham Foreshore.

Just in front of the mural is the impressive 9-foot iron starfish (photographed below).

Rockingham Arts Centre Mural – Jacq Chortlon, James Collier and Tanya Collier, 2013

Located around the same area, stands a gorgeous little steel penguin statue rescued from an overgrown garden, this is very symbolic right now due to our penguin species on Penguin Island diminishing significantly since 2007. (If you’re interested in finding out more about the declining penguins, join the Facebook group – ‘Save Rockingham’s Little Penguins’ this group is dedicated to help address this issue.

Little Penguin – Project of the Cockburn Sound Management Council, 2012

If you walk around to the entrance of the Arts Centre, you’ll see the large eagle made of motorcycle engine parts suspended in the air. You’ll also see the small Foraminifera statue. I had no idea what a Foraminifera was, in short, it’s a single celled marine plankton that lives in open ocean. The Arts Centre is worth a look as there’s usually an exhibition of some sort and a small arts and crafts market. The Arts Centre also offers different types of event spaces for hire, great for business meetings or seminars. Check out their website for more information.

I focused on the art around the Village Green and outside the Arts Centre, however that’s only a small part of it. There are a few key pieces on the foreshore including the Floating Rock Sphere, Dolphin Sculptures, Dato Anchor and the Catalpa Memorial. All up there are thirty pieces of public art to explore all over Rockingham. You can grab a map from the Rockingham Visitor’s Centre and get exploring.

Although I’m not an artist, I thoroughly enjoyed finding and admiring the beautiful art pieces displayed around Rockingham many of which I didn’t know about. It was also a great reason to get outside, walk my dog while discovering and learning more about our town. I hope that this offers something else to do in Rockingham to make your winter a little more interesting.

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