Statue’s fate sealed

ONCE a cute entry statement to the Progress Street Precinct in Morley, a collection of seal statues now deemed an eyesore and a magnet for street drinkers are to be removed.

Bayswater council commissioned the sculptures in 1997 from artist Vittorio Ulinovich, at a cost of $50,000. There’s one large fountain at the Progress Street roundabout with eight seals and three other little seals in nearby streets. 

The seals represent the “continuation of life from one generation to the next, with each seal representing a member in the family unit” according to a council report. 

But the concrete has deteriorated over the decades and the sculptures are now “beyond possible remediation” the report says, condemning them as an “eyesore to local community and a significant negative impact to the streetscape and local business”. 

The fountain stopped working beyond repair in early 2018 and the stagnant water is now full of beer cans and bugs.

• The seals are cute but decrepit. Photo by Chris Cornish

The report says police and the council’s rangers have noticed the siren call of the seal-ridden roundabout is too alluring to troublemakers and “attracts regular antisocial behaviour and street drinking”.

At the February 25 meeting Bayswater councillors endorsed a plan to remove the seal fountain and landscape the spot at a cost of $100,000. 

Works start early next year. The council had considered leaving the seals until Galleria shopping centre’s planned redevelopment, but that’s now been put on hold “until further notice” and is at least two years away.

Mr Ulinovich died in March 2019. His other local works include the Pan statue at the Fremantle Italian Club, the Pacing Horses sculpture at the Trotting Club in East Fremantle, and the Rockingham dolphins.

The council will notify his family and “acknowledge the contribution of the artwork”.

by DAVID BELL

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