Bringing the past to life: an historical diorama

As part of a wetland renewal project in the Adelaide Hills, we were contracted to create an 'entrance statement'. The multi-layered piece that resulted is now a centrepiece in a lively community open space.

It's always interesting to visit a place that's about to undergo significant change. And when it comes to urban renewal projects, it's a lot of fun to explore what can be brought to a patch of land even while the surveyors' pegs are being set in place. Such was the case with Byethorne Park, a parcel of land near a lake once used to replenish steamtrain boilers in Nairne, a small heritage town not far from the summit of Mount Barker.

Ecocreative was given pretty free rein to explore what is special about the history of this town built on the railways, agriculture and copper mining. After inspecting the site and the nearby rail corridor and siding (taking photos and making sketches as we went) and researching local history, we resolved to create a diorama, layering the regional story of farming, prospecting and transport around of a local clover that has been central to the success of graziers for generations (and a motif in the local council's logo!).

The inclusion of railway sleepers, rusted steel and a bold red matched to railway signage helped give the entrance statement a sense of place, sitting firm on a platform of quarried local stone (built by a local stonemason).

Years later, this robust installation stands much as it did from its first day in a vibrant public space that is now an everyday part of an historic township with a strong sense of itself.

Client

District Council of Mount Barker

Services delivered

• Research
• Project management
• Creative direction
• Design
• Illustration
• Writing
• Editing
• Proofreading
• Production management

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