Circus Train - Slow Down sculpture

Circus Train - Slow Down sculpture, Bunbury, public art

Public Art: Circus Train - Slow Down sculpture

Sculptors: © Alex Mickle and Nicole Mickle

Boilermakers: Craig Bayliss and Rob Blythe

Signage : Sonya Dye and Nicole Mickle

Description: The Circus Train sculpture is a result of a community cultural development project called Bridging the Gap, involving former railway workers and people with disabilities sharing their experiences. The steel, wood and glass sculpture combines several themes including progress,  compassion and celebration of life. If you look closely you will discover a pair of plaster cast hands behind a small glass window. Riveted onto a steel drum are plates with thoughts and memories from former railway workers and people with disabilities.

Date Unveiled: Unveiled Monday the 2nd August, 2010.

Location: The Circus Train - Slow Down sculpture can be found on the Leschenault Inlet foreshore near the Bunbury Rowing Club on Estuary Drive, Bunbury.

Inscriptions:

 

"The train would arrive after midnight ....What a massive task the circus folk had to unload ...the Big Top and all the animals were carried on the wheeled wagons and this job of unloading and transport was moved by the twelve or so elephants who ..... manoeuvred the wagons onto the platform .... outside the station .... the units were linked together for transport to the Queens Garden site .... By early morning the main tent was erected .... As for us youngsters, it was off home, tired but excited by al we had witnesed. An hour or so sleep, a quick breakfast and then off to school to reount our adventures." 1938/39 Circus Train Ray Repacholi
THE RAILWAY AND THE PEOPLE OF BUNBURY
(From a report by project researcher, Helen Seiver)

'Historically the railway was central to nearly every area of life in Bunbury and not only as employment or transport. It was also vital to extended 'railway families' and general community of the town. The Railways Institute , the hub of life in Bunbury, was a key element of the social and cultural fabric of the town providing not only organisation and venue for balls, weddings, regular dances and meeting places but also sporting teams, a library service and later the first video hire in Bunbury.

Because the railways were 'life' to Bunbury, no one seemed to hear or mind the noise of the trains, the whistles or the shunting all night, the rattle of the cream cans or the call boys waking workers in the middle of the night to start their shifts. in fact it seems that many people were grateful for bonuses like the coal split along the tracks. There are many stories regarding the use of coal.....'

"MY GRANDMOTHER , USED TO PUT BOTTLES ON TOP OF THE FENCE POSTS AT THE BACK OF HER HOME AS A TARGET PRACTICE FOR THE TRAIN DRIVERS. THE DRIVERS WOULD THROW COAL AT THE BOTTLES AND SHE WOULD COLLECT THE COAL FOR HER FIRE." Kevin Morrisey

'...Another concerns the cooking of crabs on the jetty with coal split in the tracks.

The railways provided vital transport for not only the expected wool, wheat, cattle, fruit and vegies, timber and group settlers cream cans left by sidings and farm gates, but also for the unexpected, like the circus and shoppers from Perth for the Cronshaw's annual sale. Also for school children on holidays from Coolgardie with groups like the Fresh Air League and the school sporting teams from Bunbury High School going to Brunswick, Dardanup and Boyanup for their weekly games.

Annual picnics were also a feature of railway transport including the annual "Lumpers Picnic" to Donnybrook or the extraordinary story in the ' I Remember When' books of the children's picnic before the line was completed between Bunbury and Perth. The line had been started from both ends and the women and children were loaded into a carriage and had their menfolk push the carriage all the way to Picton. This is an astonishing image and a reflection of the community role played by the railway in Bunbury.'

 

CIRCUS TRAIN - SLOW DOWN!

is the result of bunbury's first significant community cultural development project. Bridging the Gap. it successfully brought together the community organizations and individuals from throughout the community and united them with a common goal, to commemorate the contribution of the railway industry to Bunbury and to celebrate the abilities of people with disabilities.

What began as an art project became something much more. This project put people from all walks of life and experiences together. It became the catalyst for new friendships, support networks and encouraged the sharing of skills and stories.

PROJECT PARTNERS

Bridging the Gap was a partnership between the City of Bunbury and Disabilities and the Arts Disadvantage and the Arts Western Australia (DADAAWA).
The City of Bunbury is committed to playing a leadership role in promoting an INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY.

DADAAWA is committed to 'ARTS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE'.
It is a statewide community arts organization based in Fremantle that aims to use culture and the arts to promote social inclusion for people with disability or mental illness.

Under the partnership the City of Bunbury provided the land and managed the project. DADAA provided training to the artists, conducted community consultation, and identified and assisted participants.

This project would not have been possible without the support of many other community organizations and individuals. For a full list of project participants and supporters, and to find out more about the project, visit www.bunbury.wa.gov.au when you get home.

 

BUT WHAT IS THIS ARTWORK ABOUT?

This artwork celebrates people with disabilities and the railway community. Together they created an artwork that speaks of memories and belonging. Creating a visual representation of trains would have been simple for the artists, however the challenge was how would people with disabilities be represented in such a work?

Often people with disabilities can feel invisible.

"PEOPLE TREAT ME DIFFERENTLY WHEN I AM IN MY WHEELCHAIR. THEY CAN LOOK STRAIGHT PAST AS IF I DON'T EXIST. SO I TRY AND STAND WHENEVER I CAN." Janelle Shaw - Bridging the Gap participant

Participants said that they tend to be identified as a person with a disability first and a member of the community second. The Bridging the Gap project and this artwork allowed the participants to leave tangible proof of their contribution to this community, to create a legacy.

The workshops identified many themes. People with a disability identified strongly with images of intersecting tracks as depiction of the choices and confusion they can experience in their lives.

When former workers and locals remembered the railway, the themes were of smells, sounds and sensations - of air rushing by as trains moved through town, Friendships and community endeavours.

"THE RAILWAY BRIDGE WAS A POPULAR PLACE TO CONGREGATE....IF A TRAIN WAS COMING, WE WOULD STAND AND BE COVERED IN SMOKE! VERY EXCITING." Emmie Blackhurst (Bunbury, I remember When, Book 2)

The artists used these collective thoughts to create Circus Train. They referenced the intersecting tracks to create a sense of movement, and freedom.

"WHAT IS FREEDOM TO ME? THE FEEL OF WIND IN MY HAIR AND THE SUN ON MY FACE." Janele Shaw

At the centre of the artwork sits a symbol common to both the railways and people with disabilities, "the wheel". Whether it be from a steam train or a wheelchair, this was the obvious image used to represent all people who gave us this artwork, right at its heart. What began as two separate projects successfully became one, and resulted in the artwork here on the former site of the railway.

"I CAN DO ANYTHING - I JUST NEED HELP WITH THE IMPOSSIBLE." Lawrence Mitting - participant 

 

Circus Train - Slow Down sculpture, Bunbury, public art

Circus Train - Slow Down sculpture, public art, Bunbury

Circus Train - Slow Down sculpture, public art, Bunbury

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