42-05 The Couple

Between the creek and the river red gums you can see a sandstone sculpture of two human figures.

This sculpture, named ‘The Couple’, was created in 1962 by Berend van der Struik who had emigrated from the Netherlands five years earlier. It was one of the earliest features installed in Veale Gardens.

The sculptor had some back luck with his creation. After 30 hours of work on the piece, the sandstone cracked.

He received permission to start again with another piece of sandstone, purchased from Maroubra in Sydney.

The sculpture depicts two early settlers, a man and woman. When it was unveiled in 1962 predictably it attracted controversy.

Some people questioned its artistic merit, while others doubted the value of Council spending on any public art.

The Lord Mayor of the time was simply quoted as saying: “you either like them or you don’t”.

At the time, a cartoon appeared in the Advertiser with an elderly couple wearing coats, hats and glasses saying, “well, we're a couple, but I fail to see the resemblance”.

Unfortunately, sandstone is not an ideal stone for an outdoor sculpture and it has weathered over the years, losing some of its original sharper features.



Spoken description - The Couple
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