Years of passionate commitment and painstaking work paid off for Australian artist Sue Hayward with the unveiling of her striking memorial 'stele' on the edge of the Schwielochsee.
On a beautiful autumn afternoon, Australia's Ambassador to Germany, Peter Tesch, and the Amt Lieberose/Obserspreewald director, Bernd Boschan, performed the unveiling. Filmed by television news crews and photographers, they were also watched by some of the 200-strong 'mob' of straw kangaroos which were placed all over Berlin and Brandenburg during the Bicentenary year.
Sue Hayward describes the project:
"This memorial stele pays homage to the celebrated Prussian explorer and naturalist who is famous for his exploration of the Australian continent in the mid-1800s. It was erected in cooperation with the Amt Lieberose / Oberspreewald on the shore of the Schwielochsee at the Leichhardtstrand in Goyatz in 2013.
"The Ludwig Leichhardt Memorial is made of glass (antique glass laminated onto safety glass), stainless-steel and bronze. It stands 3.70m high from the water’s surface, and is 30cm wide by 12cm deep.
"On the glass I have incorporated excerpts from Leichhardt’s Journal Of An Overland Expedition in Australia, from Moreton Bay to Port Essington, a Distance of Upwards of 3000 Miles, During the Years 1844-1845, dealing with his constant struggles during the course of his first successful expedition. The bronze eucalyptus and banksia leaves in the two smaller open sections of the stele symbolise Leichhardt’s botanical collection.
"My approach to the historical figure of Leichhardt is not a scholarly but rather an emotional one. I am interested in the inner forces that drive people to leave their homes and face extremes. Many others of that era, including my great-grandmother, who travelled from Hamburg as a girl with her family for Australia in 1845, left civilisation to pursue personal goals or dreams under very harsh conditions in strange and distant lands."
You can find out more about this project, and Sue's other works, by visiting her website.