The Rescue

Document Type

Original Creative Work


School of Arts and Humanities




Research Background : This public sculpture depicts the historic narrative of an 1897 sea rescue off Bunbury. Tensions in the story were highlighted in the design and demonstrate the contested nature of history. Sources are contradictory, with credit for rescuing the crew given to the ship's dog by one source, and local authorities by another. The project was won through EOI and proposal to City of Bunbury, who funded the work ($31,000). The research group comprised Dr Mazza (CI), and honours students with advice from sculptor, Alex Mickle, on production and installation. The design was endorsed by Director of Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, the only A class gallery in WA outside Perth.

Research Contribution : Design and development for this work required dedicated workshopping as a group, as well as for each discrete section of the work, which presented unique challenges to interpret local history as visual narrative. The group undertook archival research and workshopped a single design based on the research findings. The group then developed a technique based on the concept of a steel drawing and scaled up to use steel rod, modelled upon the initial drawn design. The group was advised by an eminent sculptor of major public works, with a national reputation for projects with positive social and artistic outcomes. The project also required ongoing liaison with community partners.

Research Significance : Research outcomes include a permanent artwork at a major entry to Bunbury, which stretches 60m at a signalled intersection where 13,868 cars pass daily. The work was opened by the City Mayor and ECU Vice Chancellor. Local media offered an interpretation of the work and CI presented a research poster at E-Culture. Public art of this kind engages the community and contributes to regional identity, while enabling a broad audience to reflect on local history and art. The work will become a prominent landmark and contribute to sense of place for many years.

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