Who will be the face of Inverell?
26 May 2021
THIRTY-ONE nominations have been narrowed down to a short list of 5 community-minded locals, one of which will have their portrait painted on the blank wall next to the Inverell Art Gallery by local artist, Claire Foxton in late July.
Inverell Shire Council Mayor, Paul Harmon announced the launch of a public survey to assist the Public Art committee to decide which local legend will have their portrait painted in Evans Street.
Cr Harmon explained the individual to be featured in the artwork will be announced in early July.
The mayor said he’s delighted with the community’s response to the mural nominations and expects the community vote to attract a lot of interest.
“The public vote will open this week and close on Friday, 25 June”, Cr Harmon said.
Residents will be able to submit a survey response at various sites in the Inverell CBD, while also having the option to complete the survey online.
“Touch-screen voting stations will be available at the Council Administration Centre in Otho Street, Inverell Art Gallery and Inverell Shire Library, while an online survey will be available via a link on Council’s website.”
“To assist residents in selecting their choice, details about each nominee will be available via hard copy at each of the locations with a voting station, and a copy will be uploaded to Council’s website.”
Artist, Claire Foxton, estimates that the portrait will last roughly 10 years.
“When the mural has reached its use-by date, the committee will meet again to determine whether it will be re-painted, or whether another face of Inverell will be chosen to take pride and place on the wall,” Cr Harmon explained.
Brian Baldwin OAM (1936)
Described as “a local icon with a list of achievements as long as your arm”, Brian “Spike” Baldwin has been a great asset to the agriculture industry in Inverell since moving from Manilla in 1958 to advance his career as a stock and station agent. Amongst his career, he also managed to volunteer for a wide variety of community organisations that he still participates in, including Apex, Rotary, the St Vincent de Paul Society and the Inverell Jockey Club. Mr Baldwin was awarded OAM in 2013, and the “Inverell Citizen of the Year” award in 2011, and still resides in Inverell with his wife of 60 years, Helen.
Elizabeth Connors ‘Aunty Elizabeth’ (1926 – 2020)
Described as “a woman of immense generosity and compassion who supported an inclusive and caring community”, Elizabeth Connors, better known as Aunty Elizabeth, was an Indigenous Elder in the Inverell community. She was instrumental in forging strong relationships with many groups in the community which prompted her and other community members to from the Inverell Reconciliation Group. As part of the group, Aunty Elizabeth assisted with many projects including the development of the guided walking track at Sheep Station Gully camp at Goonoowigall, which is now a popular cultural asset to the shire. Aunty Elizabeth’s ability to move between cultures with ease stayed with her right up until her death in 2020 at the age of 94.
(Edmund) Norman Ditchfield (1902 – 1975)
Described as “someone who worked tirelessly all his life to make Inverell what it is today”, Norman Ditchfield moved to Inverell in 1926, opening a pharmacy in Otho Street. As soon as he arrived, Mr Ditchfield sought development and change within the community, creating a new Chamber of Commerce which was non-existent at the time. Mr Ditchfield then became a Council member for the Inverell Municipal Council in 1934, on and off until 1965, where he brought a number of new amenities to the Inverell community including the Inverell Technical College (TAFE) and the swimming pool. Mr Ditchfield passed away in July 1975, two years after being awarded the “Inverell Citizen of the Year”.
Harry Fay Senior (1892 -1974)
Described as “the underwriter of Inverell’s economy”, Harry Fay Senior purchased Hong Yuen’s in 1916 and became the sole owner of the business. He added a drapery department and showroom to the existing grocery store in 1925, and menswear and boyswear sections in 1935, making the store one of the biggest department stores and suppliers in Inverell at the time. The business expanded locally and across the region in Moree, Texas and Warialda. Mr Fay was very generous to returned service people and the farming community during times of difficulty . He passed away in 1974, leaving behind a legacy and the business to his eight children.
Ben Wade (1883 – 1958)
Described as “the biggest mover and shaker in Inverell’s history”, Ben Wade largely served in the business-hub of Inverell and the surrounding towns as a teacher, builder, businessman and politician. Mr Wade also served the community as a Council member of the North West County Council for various terms between 1941 and 1958, and an alderman and Mayor for Inverell Municipal Council for various terms between 1921 and 1958. Between his business and Council career, he also devoted his spare time to many Inverell community groups. He then held the NSW Legislative Assembly seat of Barwon for the Country Party from 1932 to 1940, when he returned home to Inverell. Mr Wade passed away in December 1958.
Alternative voting stations will be also be available at the Council Administration Centre in Otho Street, Inverell Art Gallery and Inverell Shire Library.
Voting is now open and will close on Friday, 25 June 2021.