Ore mighty crash

An iconic Perth artwork was chopped up and taken away this week. Is it coming back?

AN iconic artwork dubbed Perth’s ‘Ore Kebab’ has been chopped up and removed by Perth council for conservation, prompting concerns it might gather dust in a depot indefinitely.

The removal of the St George’s Terrace artwork happened just days before its 50th birthday on July 23.

The ore obelisk was erected in 1971 to mark the millionth resident in WA, and symbolises the state’s expansion on the back of mining.

Artist Paul Ritter, also Perth council’s first city planner, worked 15 ores into the 15-metre drill-shaft design. It was nestled among the supreme court garden’s trees, and Ritter said it represented “the harmony of mining and environment”. In 1997 Ritter and then-lord mayor Peter Nattrass went up on a crane to install a faux diamond.

A council statement this week said “the artwork will be stored in offsite storage while the City of Perth explores the feasibility of conservation”.

Museum of Perth executive director Reece Harley has publicly called on the council to come up with a solid conservation plan.

He said the statement about exploring options “seems rather noncommittal and secretive.

“This is a significant public artwork and it needs to be maintained and reinstated. How much conservation work do million year old rocks require?”

A response from council CEO Michelle Reynolds said “all public artworks have an optimal lifespan. Ore Obelisk is coming close to the end of its useful life and, in spite of regular maintenance, is in a state of deterioration that poses risks to public safety”.

She wrote “renewal/replacement, decommissioning or relocating a piece of public art is a complex and difficult task that must involve all relevant stakeholders and the community” and it’d likely go to the council early in the new year.

By DAVID BELL

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