Windlines Opening

(11am 19 September 2011, Scout Place Circular Quay)

Good morning, everyone. Welcome. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, and pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

I would also like to acknowledge Major General Michael Jeffery, AC, AO, CVOC, National President of Scouts Australia and I especially welcome Dick Smith AO and Pip Smith, whose generosity made this wonderful sculpture possible, and also, of course, the two artists, Jennifer Turpin and Michaelie Crawford.

It celebrates - albeit a little after the event! - the 2008 centenary of Scouting in Australia. The movement has undergone significant changes in those 100 years but it continues to develop skills of observation, self-reliance, resourcefulness and respect for the environment in young Australians.

Like the City of Sydney, the Scouts are concerned with climate change and the challenge to live within our environmental means, and the movement is now working towards making all its halls and campsites self-sufficient for water and energy.

This sculpture reflects some of those environmental concerns, harnessing the natural power of the wind and drawing attention to some of the sites in the Sydney area that have special significance for the scouting movement.

Its siting here also reflects the City's determination to bring art out of the galleries and into our public spaces, to create a more engaging and interesting urban environment.

Successful public art, which stands the test of generations, needs to be site specific and it needs to have real meaning.

The Public Art Policy which the City has formulated sets as our benchmarks excellence, innovation and relevance to place - criteria which I think this work admirably fulfils.

It speaks to us of vitality, adventure and challenge and it activates this space in a new and exciting way.

I would like to thank all of those involved in the project:

  • Dick and Pip Smith, whose generosity has made it possible;
  • Anne Loxley, who was our public art consultant, drawing up a short list of artists to compete for the project;
  • the project control group, including the City's Project Managers Rob Muek and Glenn Wallace, Director of Design, Bridget Smyth and public art program manager, Eva Rodriguez-Riestra, as well as manager of City Infrastructure, George Angelis, and City Projects Design Manager, Chris Thomas; and
  • The City's Public Art Advisory Panel.

Special thanks are also due to our two major contractors: firstly John Kell from Hycast Metals whose team produced the extraordinary stainless steel mast and vane that move so gracefully above and Sam and Alex Harb from Sam the Paving Man whose team of perfectionists finished the paving to the high quality you can see here today.

I'd also like to acknowledge the support and hard work of Richard Miller, national Chief Executive of Scouts Australia, and also Dick Prince and Grant Sutton from Evans and Peck who provided their project management services gratis to the project.

I also thank the Scout Place Public Art Selection Committee:

  • Leon Parossien, AM, who chaired the committee;
  • Curator Felicity Fenner;
  • Artist Janet Laurence; all three from the City's Public Art Advisory Panel;
  • Robert Leece, AM, of Scouts Australia;
  • Richard Miller, National Chief Executive of Scouts Australia; and
  • Pip Smith, and her alternate John Leee.

Together, you, and the artists, have given us a great new addition to the growing gallery of public artworks in Sydney. Thank you.