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Townsville artist commissioned for North Queensland Stadium sculpture

Townsville artist commissioned for North Queensland Stadium sculpture
September 20, 2019
Arts / Sport / Venues /

Townsville artist Jane Hawkins has been commissioned to sculpt a bronze life-sized statue of NRL star Johnathan Thurston (JT) to stand in the northern entry plaza of the new North Queensland Stadium.

The statue will be located to welcome locals and visitors who attend games and events at the stadium.

Hawkins will team with Dean Rusling, owner and operator of Chalkos Fine Arts Foundry, the same company that fabricated the bronze statues of Arthur Beetson, Mal Meninga and Alfie Langer that stand at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Hawkins said Johnathan Thurston (pictured below) is an outstanding ambassador for North Queensland, Indigenous culture and the community, commenting "it is a great honour to create a tribute to a man who is such a legend both on and off the football field.

“As a local resident of Townsville and an avid follower of the North Queensland Cowboys, I am excited by the project and being able to celebrate JT.

“I watched him kick that winning field goal in 2015 with my breath held, and time seemed to be suspended in that moment.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that her Government had worked with Johnathan and Samantha Thurston, Townsville City Council and the stadium architect to select the winning design.

She advised “it’s a fitting tribute to have a statue of JT’s NRL Grand Final-winning field goal in honour of his contribution to the sport and the North Queensland community.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge advised the Federal’s Government’s $100 million commitment was helping make the North Queensland Stadium a reality.

Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said having a Townsville local sculpt the Johnathan Thurston statue was something of which his entire community could be proud of: “Ms Hawkins, a well-established North Queensland figurative sculptor, has a proven reputation for creating realistic life-size bronzes.

“Locals know her for her statue of British colonial businessman Robert Towns, after whom Townsville is named, that stands near the Victoria Bridge in the city’s CBD.”

Dean Rusling owner-operator of Brendale-based Chalkos Fine Arts Foundry said he was thrilled to once again be working with Hawkins with whom he has completed many other bronze commissions over the past 25 years.

Rusling stated "it’s always an honour to be selected as the foundry that casts NRL legends in bronze. We took pride in being able to cast and finish Mal, Artie and Alfie, and now to be doing JT is extra special.

“The process will ensure a high-quality finish to the likeness of this legend that Jane sculpts.”

Federal Minister for Youth and Sport Richard Colbeck said immortalising JT would help inspire generations of Queenslanders to take up the sport and stay physically active.

Senator Colbeck concluded “our greatest sporting heroes are often our children’s greatest inspirations and I hope this serves as a lasting reminder of both JT’s talent and his commitment to helping the local community get active.”

The North Queensland Stadium is a joint project of the Queensland Government, Australian Government and Townsville City Council and is supported by both the National Rugby League and the North Queensland Cowboys. The stadium forms part of the Townsville City Deal signed in December 2016.

Main image: Artist's impression of the North Queensland Stadium.

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24th April 2019 - Spotless secures official catering contract for new North Queensland Stadium

20th March 2019 - New promenade to connect Townsville sports and arts precincts

6th August 2018 - Johnathan Thurston joins board of Tourism and Events Queensland

29th September 2018 - Construction advances at North Queensland Stadium in Townsville

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20th December 2016 - Cox Architecture design announced for new $250 million Townsville Stadium

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