Vandalised statue recovered
SCULPTOR TO REPAIR DAMAGE
A TEAM of specialist divers has successfully recovered the severed torso and head plus the remaining body of the C. Y. O’Connor statue from the ocean off North Coogee beach after it was vandalised last month.
The pieces are now in sculptor Tony Jones’ studio, where they will be cleaned and rejoined before being reinstated in coming weeks.
A warning float was attached to the remaining pylon.
Jones told the City that the statue, installed in 1999, was funded by the then Department of Trade and Commerce.
The City chose Jones as the project artist and arranged for its installation, but the statue was 30m offshore in an area of Crown Land under the jurisdiction of the Department of Lands, Planning and Heritage.
Mayor Logan Howlett said the sculpture had a special place in people’s hearts, having been voted one of WA’s most significant artworks in 2013.
Charles Yelverton O’Connor was a celebrated West Australian engineer and former Engineer-inChief appointed by WA Premier John Forrest in 1891.
He was responsible for projects including Fremantle Harbour, extensive railway construction in Perth, Fremantle, the Wheatbelt, Goldfields and SouthWest, and the Perth to Kalgoorlie Water Pipeline.
But C. Y. O’Connor’s pioneering projects attracted prolonged criticism from members of Parliament and the press of the day.
“His death in the ocean south of Fremantle on March 10, 1902, is a stark reminder of the pressures of daily life and their impacts on individuals, families and communities that continue to this day and that have become more prevalent over time,” Mr Howlett said.
The C. Y. O’Connor statue off North Coogee Beach.