Hopes kelpie will attract more kids to the library
THE new Grafton library is joining icons like the Dog on the Tuckerbox, five miles from Gundagai, by celebrating Australia's love of the working dog.
A life-size silver cast aluminium statue of a kelpie, created by Maclean sculptor Cass Samms, will greet library users as they enter the building.
Ms Samms said the Clarence Valley Council originally commissioned the work to accompany a silver drinking fountain for people and animals at the building but have changed the purpose for the sculpture.
She said the positioning of the sculpture near a seat at the front of the building was to make it more interactive for the public.
"Other sculptures of dogs have them on concrete plinths or tucker boxes. I wanted mine to be more informal," she said.
"I hope kids come along and polish his nose."
Monday's opening of the library, to be called the Sir Earle Page Library and Education Centre, will occur 75 years to the day after Sir Earle became Australia's 11th prime minister.
The $8 million facility was funded through a Federal Government grant and includes outreach learning facilities for the Southern Cross and New England universities.
Member for Page Kevin Hogan, who will officially open the library, said he was confident it would serve the library needs of Clarence Valley residents for years to come.
Mayor Richie Williamson said it was fitting the new facility would be named in honour of Sir Earle Page.
He said Sir Earle was a passionate advocate for education and research, was responsible for the creation of the CSIRO and was the first chancellor of the University of New England after campaigning for its establishment.
Members of the Page family will attend.
Ms Samms said she had used her three dogs as life models for the sculpture, even though none of them were kelpies.
"I used them to get the shape of their paws and the way they held themselves while sitting," she said.
"I actually used lots of photos of the dog Cocoa, who starred in Red Dog, to get the shape of the dog."
She said the statue was lifelike enough to scare one of her dogs at her home.
The dog is the third statue Clarence Valley Council has commissioned from Ms Samms.
Others are Parts in a Sphere in the Grafton Regional Gallery courtyard and Funicular at Turners Beach, Yamba.
WHERE: Sir Earle Page Library and Education Centre, Pound St, Grafton (between Prince and Queen Sts).
WHEN: Official opening Monday, 10am. Open to the public from 11am.