I am a freelance writer and diversional therapist, living in Brisbane's North West. I write for Weekend Notes, Must do Brisbane and Starts at Sixty. Visit my blogs at babybloomin.wordpress.com and brisbanetripster.wordpress.com.
Published December 29th 2014
Meet Gloria Ewe - you're guaranteed to leave smiling
If you've walked along the boardwalk at Teneriffe there's a good chance you've met up with one of the area's iconic ladies - Gloria, the ewe. Queensland sculptor, Mark Andrews was commissioned by the Brisbane City Council to create Gloria and what a wonderful work of art she is!
Gloria, the stainless steel Wool Store ewe, is larger than life and it is obvious that Mark put much effort into the intricate details that make Gloria so special. Standing at roughly 2 meters in height, she's hard to miss and I'd defy anyone who sees her to walk away without a smile on their face. The quirky ewe comes complete with hat and her own handbag - a "Gucci original", according to her creator!
This sculpture was named after local entity, Gloria Grant, who sadly passed away before the beautifully crafted ewe was installed at Teneriffe. Local artist and retired Central Ward councillor, David Hinchliffe said, "I think it's great to have a name for her and I think Gloria Grant's sense of the irreverent would have been tickled."
Gloria takes pride of place on the Teneriffe waterfront (just in front of Eves on the River) to remind locals and visitors alike that this inner city suburb was built on the sheep's back. The now iconic Wool Stores at Teneriffe made millions of dollars selling Australian wool internationally and shipping it out from local wharves.
Concept drawing of the sculpture by Mark Andrews
Andrews' contract with the Brisbane City Council was originally for a sculpture which included a sheep and a ram (Gloria's mate). Unfortunately, for personal reasons, the sculptor was unable to complete the ram at the time and Council decided to cancel the contract, leaving Gloria without her partner.
The Teneriffe Festival Inc has now commissioned Mark Andrews to complete his sculpture and work is well under way to deliver Gloria's mate to her in time for the 2015 Teneriffe Festival in July. The ram will be taller (approximately 2.2 meters high) and more substantial in size than Gloria, with a heavier, stronger frame. He will also have his own special characteristics which will include a giant pair of binoculars.
Since September, 2012 Gloria has been standing on the waterfront, her outstretched arm pointing to the other planned figure in this duo and awaiting a ship to take her across the seas, where her fleece would be prized. When her mate joins her, he will be gazing through his binoculars in search of that elusive ship.
The Teneriffe Festival, 6th July, 2013. Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, Her Excellency Penelope Wensley Governor of Queensland, sculptor Mark Andrews and David Hunchliffe at the dedication of a plaque for the sculptured ewe named Gloria. For the occasion, Gloria wore a hibiscus bloom "High Voltage", which came from Gloria Grant's garden.
Mark Andrews said that he and David Hinchliffe (originator of the concept) collaborated to design a piece that would suit the style of Teneriffe, an area renowned for the Arts. Importantly, it had to be a design that the local people would enjoy. I think it's fair to say that they hit the nail on the head!
Gloria the quirky and whimsical merino is definitely a landmark on the Teneriffe waterfront and does a wonderful job of symbolizing the prosperity of this precinct's wool past. Drop by and pay her a visit and keep an eye out for her mate!
The Teneriffe Festival Inc would like to acknowledge and thank Teneriffe Reality and Eyes on Business for their generous donations towards bringing Gloria's partner, the ram, to life. If you would like to make a donation towards the cost of this sculpture, please contact Jillian Kingsford Smith, Project Manager, Teneriffe Festival Inc.
Gloria Grant and her life partner, Gerard Benjamin (well known local historian) co-authored "Reflections on New Farm", a local best seller which resulted in a greater interest in local history. Gerard kept a journal during Gloria's illness and after her passing. This has been published as an 80 page book, entitled "Early in the Mourning" and is a personal account of his bereavement. This book is available from the Relaxation Centre at Alderley.