One of Ipswich’s most well-known pieces of public art, on the banks of the Bremer River in River Heart Parklands, will be relocated after being affected by the 2022 floods.
‘Looking back to a childhood’, by renowned Queensland sculptor Dr Rhyl Hinwood AM, is a bronze sculpture of young children playing on a riverbank with their pet dog.
Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Fechner said the sculpture was an important piece of public art and needed to be protected from the effects of floods and potential vandalism.
“Dr Hinwood is one of Australia’s most respected artists and it is a privilege for Ipswich to have one of her artworks in our public art collection,” Cr Fechner said.
“While work continues to restore River Heart Parklands to full public use following the 2022 floods, we want to ensure these bronze children and their dog are protected and conserved.
“Council has decided to temporarily remove the sculptures and store them safely until a new, permanent location can be identified.
“Ipswich Art Gallery Director Claire Sourgnes has advised our Assets and Infrastructure Services team on the removal of the statues and their storage.
“The artwork has now been carefully removed by council officers and will be stored securely until council and the community identify a new location for it to be on display once more.
“Ipswich has such a fantastic collection of public art, and it’s our responsibility to ensure each piece is conserved and protected for all residents to enjoy.”
The artwork was commissioned by Ipswich City Council in 1993 and was previously located in D’Arcy Doyle Place before being moved to River Heart Parklands in the early 2000s.
Dr Hinwood has been consulted about the artwork’s removal.
Division 3 Councillor Marnie Doyle said it had been identified that two of the five bronze children were missing, and a more prominent and appropriate location will ensure the artwork is enjoyed more widely by the community for many years to come.
“’Looking back to a childhood’ is an artwork with a story we can all recognise – the light-hearted joy of exploring a riverbank and the hidden delights of native animals and plants,” Cr Doyle said.
“It’s believed four of the bronze children were relocated to River Heart in the early 2000s, however the fifth was not. The loss of another bronze child was noticed during the flood clean-up.
“To protect the remaining artwork we must remove it now and take the time to discuss with the community where best it can be displayed in the future.”
Dr Rhyl Hinwood AM lives in Kenmore Hills. In 2015, she was appointed Patron of Sculptures Queensland, and in 2006 appointed Member, General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for her contribution to visual art.