Mining History Recreated For Gatescape

The childhood memories of one Wonthaggi resident have largely inspired his artwork for the Great Gippsland Gatescape competition.

Bill Dean has made good use of recycled materials to recreate the history of the State Coal Mine 1909 to 1968 on his garden gate in Broome Crescent.

Born in Wonthaggi, Bill left as a child but returned with his wife Margaret 27 years ago. Bill took inspiration from memories of his uncles who worked in the mines, one for 18 years, for his entry in the competition – the feature event for this year’s Creative Gippsland Arts Festival.

Such is the excitement generated by his sculpture that, when a neighbour from across the road came to have a look at what Bill was doing, he was so impressed he went back home and scrounged through his shed, bringing over many bits and pieces, including an original pick he had from his mining days, to become part of Bill’s gate.

Bill created the figures from scratch, the miner from aluminium, and a hand carved wooden pit pony pulling a cart of coal. The bird in a cage actually sings and there is also a miniature version of the old miners’ lamp. All this took just over three weeks to make. In that time there were many cuts and bruises as part of the construction process so Bill says the gate was truly made with blood, sweat and tears!

Bill Dean’s gate is among many entries on the Creative Gippsland website. You can vote for Bill and other Gatescape entries by visiting www.creativegippsland.com.au and follow the links to Gatescape to cast your vote.

It is not too late to enter the competition with the cut off date now extended to the end of May. Enquiries about the Great Gippsland Gatescape competition can be directed to the Coordinator, Janice Orchard on 0419 301 363 or Bass Coast Council’s Arts Officer, Josephine Kent on 1300 BCOAST (226 278).