Stanley the Emu Welcomes You to Lightning Ridge

Dubbo to Lightning Ridge

The long school holidays kicked off almost two weeks ago. We immediately took off for a few days in Dubbo followed by a trip to Lightning Ridge.

There will be posts about all the adventures Dani got up to but first here is a post about another “Big” artwork all the way in the northern (central) part of outback New South Wales.

Stanley the Emu

Australia has quite a few deliberately “Big” monuments dotted about its landscape. I have read about several and we saw the Big Merino sheep sculpture in Golborne (see that one here) on the way to the Snowy Mountains. When we left Dubbo, it was a 350km (just under 4 hour) drive directly north to Lightning Ridge. We made good progress and then Dani finally decided he needed to stop – a mere ten minutes from our destination! This is where we stopped…

Stanley the Emu – 10km from Lightning Ridge
At Stanley’s base… his creators made their mark.

Local artist John Murray had a long standing idea and desire to create a giant emu overlooking the highway outside Lightning Ridge. In 2013 his dream came true.

Stanley the Emu was unveiled to the world in all his rusting glory. The 18-metre-tall emu constructed from more than a tonne of scrap metal, three Volkswagen bodies and a pair of rusting satellite dishes stands proudly by the Castlereagh Highway, about 10 kilometres from town (south) towards Walgett. The long metal pieces for the legs came from the demolished old Dubbo Police Station.

John (Murray) teamed up with Coonamble welder and co-creator Tim Parsons, who constructed “Stanley” on his farming property, “Orwell” near Combara (which is about half way between Dubbo and Walgett).

An impressive sculpture. Well, I thought so.
The VW Beetle used as the main body of Stanley.

“Stanley” is named after a former local police commander called Stan Single, who comes from the Coonamble, Walgett and Ridge region. Mr. Single was later based in Dubbo.

Apparently, a time capsule was inserted into the body of the structure to be opened in 50 years. Which means we still have to wait another 43 years before we know what is inside Stanley.

Seeing Stanley in the 36 degree heat was a very interesting introduction to the town of Lightning Ridge. This was clearly going to be another interesting trip…

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