Con­vict art­work built to en­dure

Melville Times - - News - Leah Roberts

A WALK by con­victs and guards has been im­mor­talised in a sculp­ture at Fre­man­tle Pri­son.

A 14-me­tre sil­hou­ette has been in­stalled along the pri­son’s en­trance ramp, which de­picts a group of life-size con­victs and pen­sioner guards ar­riv­ing in Fre­man­tle.

The ramp was built by con­vict labour from the build­ing rub­ble found at Fre­man­tle Pri­son.

Pri­son di­rec­tor Paula Nel­son said it was a per­ma­nent ad­di­tion to the Fair­bairn Ramp.

“The de­sign was in­ten­tion­ally sim­ple, with the harsh­ness of the sys­tem of trans­porta­tion de­picted through their pos­ture and chains, and own­er­ship by the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment prom­i­nent through the broad ar­row sym­bols,” she said.

“Fair­bairn Ramp is it­self built from the spoils of Fre­man­tle Pri­son and main­tains its role as a route from the pri­son to the city.

“This memo­rial is to those con­victs whose labour helped build our won­der­ful state in the fi­nal stage of this com­mem­o­ra­tion.”

Her­itage Min­is­ter David Tem­ple­man said the sculp­ture was a vis­ually strik­ing ad­di­tion to Fre­man­tle’s her­itage nar­ra­tive.

"The place­ment of the life-sized group of con­victs and guards travers­ing the pri­son’s en­trance ramp high­lights the once harsh pur­pose of this for­mer con­vict trans­port route, giv­ing vis­i­tors a stronger in­sight into our con­vict past,” he said.

Fre­man­tle MLA Si­mone McGurk said Fre­man­tle Pri­son was al­ready a her­itage icon in WA.

"This new ad­di­tion will add to the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence of vis­it­ing the pri­son and give vis­i­tors an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for what life was like when con­victs were build­ing the pri­son and the ramp,” she said.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d489753

Fre­man­tle Pri­son di­rec­tor Paula Nel­son with the sculp­ture.

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