Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Floriade, Canberra, 2004

The Canberra Times
Plenty of rubbernecking as crowds fail to tyre of 1970s-era swans
By David Seale
Thursday, 14 October 2004

There was plenty of rubbernecking yesterday at Floriade as a 100-strong flock of black Australian native swans nestled on the grounds of Commonwealth Park.
The birds were of the kitsch 1970s variety, made from old cross-ply tyres, and they roused plenty of interest and fond memories.

Burra resident Greg Hedger, who responded to a request put out on ABC Radio's Gardening Show in February, was the man responsible for repatriating the landscape with the once-popular garden ornaments....

Mr Hedger said each swan took about an hour to fashion - once he had the design sorted - plus a bit of time for painting. The tyres were heated by engine exhaust or in a glasshouse so the rubber was easier to cut and twist inside out.

The tyres were sourced from a company in Melbourne, which was believed to have held a stockpile for use as swings. While the steel belting in a modern radial tyre is good for motorists, it does not wear safely in children's swingsets. Neither is it suitable for swan sculpting, because it's too difficult to slice.

Sizes ranged from 12- and 13-inch car tyres to truck tyres. Mr Hedger's offerings have been planted with a new variety of pansy, named Waterfall.

After the festival, Mr Hedger intends to take the swans under his wing. While the Floriade examples are under offer - Mr Hedger's wife has her name on two - he'll take up the slack afterwards. He's already had orders from ladies in Burra and Orange and a school in Armidale. He had no idea what the swans would sell for, but would probably charge less than $100 apiece

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