The scrap metal 'roos are the result of a recent push by the Brisbane City Council for what they call "public art"--art that, instead of living in an art gallery, lives out on the streets among the people. Cr David Hinchcliffe, chairperson of the council's Community Policy Committee (which also oversees public art), has said of them: "The most popular public art we've ever been responsible for are those kangaroos on George Street."1 They were created by local artist Christopher Trotter, who specialises in sculpture using scrap metal. He has also made the pelican sculptures that are at the south end of South Bank.
The plaque attached to the pavement nearby reads as follows:
Made of discarded scrap metal from a broad cross-section of industries, 'City Roos' takes a look at the creative and classic culture of 'making do'.
'City Roos' symbolizes the importance of sharing space and communication.
Special thanks to Simsmetal and Xtroll
Probably the centrepiece of the display is this male 'roo that is lounging on a bench.
His claw shows the artist's attention to detail.
You will note that the male is whole. Note also the artist's signature on the thigh.
The one that originally stood next to him wore a walkman (You can see the earphone leads leading up to the ears). This was to show its youth and also hark back to Brisbane's first radio broadcasts which were made from this area.
That young 'roo did not last long. He was stolen one night and some weeks later the artist replaced him with another kangaroo, this time holding a flute. There have also been attempts to steal the others and they were recently given a reinforced base to make them harder to remove. It is a sad indictment on human nature that some of us are never content to leave something for everyone's enjoyment.
This female stands watchfully ...
... in her pouch is a joey peeping out.
The female with joey has been replaced with this whimsical space kangaroo, seemingly ready to jet off into space.
I don't know what the trumpet is for.
The last one is busy feeding.
Christopher says his work is about people sharing space with native fauna, a topic close to my heart. "These roos have come to town and they're relaxed and comfortable and they're laying back and enjoying the city environment outside a coffee shop."2
1 Brown, P. 1999, 'Our public art', Brisbane News, 8-14 September, p. 5.
2 ibid., 6.