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Derby High School students help local artist Mark Norval with ‘Dancing Brolgas’ installation on marshes

Cain AndrewsBroome Advertiser
The ‘Dancing Brolgas’ sculpture.
Camera IconThe ‘Dancing Brolgas’ sculpture. Credit: Supplied

Derby District High School students have lent a helping hand to local artist Mark Norval, plying skills learnt in their engineering pathways class to install a spectacular sculpture on the Derby marshes.

The collaboration meant a six-metre-tall statue of five brolgas, dubbed the “Dancing Brolgas” was added to the Derby marshes landscape on August 25 — complementing a number of Norval’s sculptures already in place.

Constructed entirely out of steel, the year 11 and 12 students used their plasma and oxyacetylene cutting skills learnt during the year to cut pieces of the sculpture out of sheets of steel.

Tayana Nandoo (17).
Camera IconTayana Nandoo (17). Credit: Supplied

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The pieces were then put together outside of the school and installed on the marsh using a crane, with the students given valuable insight into the process of bracing the sculpture from cyclonic weather conditions.

Derby Senior High School vocational trainer John Devenny said the students were very proud to be a part of the permanent installation.

“It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, we put it all together and then we do the engineering and the strengthening part of it, all before it goes up,” he said.

Tyzeal Williams-Wilson (17) and Liam Gordon (17).
Camera IconTyzeal Williams-Wilson (17) and Liam Gordon (17). Credit: Supplied

“It’s pretty amazing once it’s all standing. When the students came in (to school) the next day they went, ‘oh wow, how good is that?’.”

Derby District High Schools students have helped Mr Norval construct several other sculptures in the past, such as the “Kimberley Stockman” and the “Outback Footy” sculptures that also sit on the marsh.

Mr Norval, who was an art teacher at Derby District High School for 25 years said it was great to get the students involved.

“In the future, we’re hoping that students from Derby District High School design some big sculptures with the help of myself and the teachers at the school that can also go out on the marsh.”

“I’m ecstatic with the end result — I’m really, really happy.

”In 10 years time, there might be 30 sculptures out on the marsh, and it’ll be a really amazing national tourist attraction.”

Mark Norval plans to construct another all steel sculpture on the marsh with the help of Derby High students next year which will be of a family group, representing the people of Derby.

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