Uncover Local History Through Gregory Hills’ Art Installations
While Gregory Hills itself may be one of Camden’s newer suburbs at only just over 10 years old, the history and influence surrounding the area is as rich as it is extensive. They believe that providing insights into the history of the area now known as Gregory Hills can give our residents a unique perspective on where we are headed.
With this in mind, last year they began planning and implementing an art installation trail that would be sewn throughout the suburb of Gregory Hills and tell its history. As David Taylor, General Manager of Gregory Hills’ developer Dart West, puts it, it’s about celebrating the area in a creative and visually effective way.
“There is such a rich history within the soil of Gregory Hills and we just felt there should be a way we can unearth it and put it on display for all the residents, and their visitors, to see” explained Taylor.
Currently there are four art pieces around Gregory Hills, with another 11 to be added moving forward. The four that have already been installed are:
• Unfurling (La Valla Park);
• Mount St Gregory (Howard Park);
• Illuminate (between Howard Park and Gregory Hills Town Centre); and
• Thomas Donovan (Thomas Donovan Park).
The story behind the art:
So, where did the inspiration come from for these pieces? As with every piece of art, there is always a story that acts as the genesis for its creation, the inspiration that drives the creativity. Here are the stories and inspiration behind the art pieces.
‘Unfurling’ captures and expresses the natural movement of water in the landscape, while representing the reaction of unfolding fauna when water is added and how humanity, especially as a community, is tied to its life-giving properties. Essentially, this piece representing the concept of humanity’s connection to nature and the surrounding waterways. Located in La Valla Park, ‘Unfurling’ is easily accessible via the extensive network of connected pathways and streets.
Mount St. Gregory
This sculpture is a direct conversation about the movement of European settlers through, in and around the Scenic Hills since the discovery and naming of the Cowpastures region in 1795. This piece expresses the early interactions within the undulating forms, and the dominant presence of the peaks along the ridgeline. Located at Howard Park, ‘Mount St. Gregory’ captures the rhythm of the hills, as well as the natural barrier of the hillsides that hold a special place in the hearts of the people that live in their shadow.
Incorporating the sweeping curve of the existing pedestrian bridge, ‘Illuminate’ is a lighting expression that emulates the experience of crossing a natural creek line. Early European settlers were closely connected to the sources and origins of water within the landscape, establishing their homes, estates and townships based on the close proximity to water and suitable agricultural land.
‘Thomas Donovan’ (located at Thomas Donovan Park) is a piece that recognises the positive influence and contributions of its namesake, Thomas Donovan, in the area. His acts of kindness positively impacted the lives of thousands of students, their families and the broader community. A Shakespearean scholar, academic and philanthropist, Donovan will always be remembered for his contributions that led to the creation of a chapel at Mount St. Gregory and the establishment of the Marist College. Through his financing of the college, bursaries (scholarships) were available for boys from poor families to attend to gain an agricultural education, giving them a viable future in the area.
Moving forward Gregory Hills will be releasing another 11 installations in strategic locations throughout Gregory Hills, all telling a story of the history of the area.