Rhyl Hinwood talks about the Great Court sculptures


The original commission was to complete eight
grotesques for the University and they were all to represent significant people who were
connected with the foundation of the University of Queensland and their connection with the
St Lucia campus. They weren’t all academics – it did include Don Russell, who was the
caretaker. Initially, when I began work at the University
I did everything I was asked to do without question. I accepted that other people more
intelligent than myself had chosen the subjects and where they were to go. But as time went on I lost interest in carving
heraldry – it didn’t thrill me because I didn’t really get to design any of it. I was more
interested in producing work that was my own original concept and choosing subjects that
fulfilled the guidelines that the University had set down in the early days at St Lucia,
and I conferred with an environmental scientist to choose subjects that – particularly the
flora and fauna – were specific to Queensland. Wherever we could, found only in Queensland,
and they were some very interesting suites of carvings that eventuated from that study,
and that gave me a lot of satisfaction and I think it was really worth doing. Well, I think there is an opportunity to celebrate
the achievements of staff and graduates of the University, and celebrate the uniqueness
of our state of Queensland.

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