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Hills Sculpture Trail

Joanne Hough
Geological Survey of South Australia, Department for Energy and Mining

Download this article as a PDF (2.7 MB); cite as MESA Journal 89, pages 15–21
Published February 2019


The Hills Sculpture Trail comprises 26 world-class sculptures located in the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula, linking people with towns and regions, geology and art, nature and beauty (Fig. 1).

The sculptures were crafted during three Adelaide Hills International Sculpture Symposiums in 2012, 2014 and 2016, held at the ‘Cedars’, Hahndorf, the former home of Australian landscape artist Hans Heysen. The trail is the initiative of a group of volunteers to ‘enrich the Hills with sculpture’.

Each sculpture was commissioned by community and local business groups in the Adelaide Hills and the Fleurieu Peninsula with strong support from the Adelaide Hills, Mount Barker and Alexandrina Councils. Thousands of people come to watch as the artists ground, chipped, chiselled and polished, carving their dreams in stone.

The inaugural symposium was held 10–29 April 2012 and resulted in eight works (MESA Journal 70:44–48). The second symposium was held 31 March to 21 April 2014 (MESA Journal 81:30–34) producing eight more works.

This article describes the 2016 sculptures and complements the earlier MESA Journal articles (cited above) by Hough (2013, 2016).

The 2016 event, held 4–25 April, attracted sculptors from Australia, New Zealand, England, Italy, Japan, China, Korea and the Netherlands. The sculptures (17–26) are located within the towns of Stirling, Mount Barker, Woodside, Nairne, Milang, Strathalbyn, Hahndorf and Bridgewater.

Sunshine (sculpture 26), located at Bridgewater, is a memorial to Chris Steele Scott in recognition of her contribution to the Hills Sculpture Trail.

Figure 1 Locality map showing the 26 sites that make up the Hills Sculpture Trail and their dimension stone sources.
Figure 1 Locality map showing the 26 sites that make up the Hills Sculpture Trail and their dimension stone sources.
1 Spatial Tension Mount Barker
2 Sailing of Soul Mount Barker
3 Prickly 3 Mount Barker
4 Watersong Macclesfield
5 Angel of Hahndorf Hahndorf
6 Le Peloton Balhannah
7 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and …. Lobethal
8 The Remoteness Stirling
9 Flow Langhorne Creek
10 Waterstone Mount Compass
11 Fossils Meadows
12 Journeys Stirling
13 Hydris Mount Barker
14 Cosmic Connections Mount Barker
15 Splash Little Hampton
16 The Key to the Heart of Mt Torrens and the Birdhouse Mount Torrens
17 Star Gate Nairne
18 Brussels by Night Mount Barker
19 Co-existence Woodside
20 Run like the Wind Milang
21 Prada Stirling
22 The Sculptors Mount Barker
23 The View Mount Barker
24 Sunshine and Showers Strathalbyn
25 Infinity 2150 Hahndorf
26 Sunshine Bridgewater

The stones

Uniquely South Australian stones were the preferred choice for the symposiums and include pink and grey Paris Creek and Macclesfield marbles, grey Kapunda Marble, mottled Sellicks Hill Marble, white Angaston and Mount Torrens marbles and Black Granite (Black Hill Norite) (Table 1; Fig. 1).

The 2016 symposium saw the first use of Minbrie Gneiss, Desert Rose granite and Balta Granite from quarries located on the Eyre Peninsula and in the Gawler Ranges.

Stone used for the 2016 symposium was donated by Graham Arthy, Bert Davis, Barossa Quarries, Melocco Stone, Chesini House and Direct Mix Concrete.

The Mount Torrens and Sellick’s Hill marbles are described in Hough (2016). For descriptions of the Paris Creek, Macclesfield, Angaston and Kapunda marbles and Black Hill Norite refer to Hough (2013).

Table 1 South Australian stones used for the Hills Sculpture Trail

StoneSource Geological unit and ageSculpture
Angaston Marble Bald Hill, Private Mine 112 Angaston Marble (Normanville Group; Early Cambrian) 2 Sailing of Soul, 3 Prickly 3 (white prickle and base), 9 Flow (base), 19 Co-existence, 20 Run like the Wind, 24 Sunshine and Showers (base)
Black Granite Black Hill, Mineral Lease 4383 Black Hill Norite (part of the Black Hill Gabbroic Complex; Early to Middle Ordovician) 1 Spatial Tension, 5 Angel of Hahndorf, 6 Le Peloton, 8 The Remoteness, 10 Waterstone, 12 Journeys, 14 Cosmic Connections (sphere), 15 Splash, 16 The Key to the Heart of Mt Torrens and the Birdhouse (base), 18 Brussels by Night, 19 Co-existence (base), 21 Prada, 23 The View 2, 26 Sunshine
Kapunda Marble Carrara Quarry, Private Mine 111 Kapunda Marble (Normanville Group; Early Cambrian) 3 Prickly 3 (grey prickle)
Paris Creek Marble Historical Paris Creek quarry south of Macclesfield Fork Tree Limestone (Early Cambrian) 4 Watersong, 7 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and …, 24 Sunshine and Showers, 9 Flow, 11 Fossils
Mount Torrens Marble Excavation works near the historical Mount Torrens Marble quarry Carrickalinga Head Formation (Lower Kanmantoo Group; Early Cambrian) 16 The Key to the Heart of Mt Torrens and Birdhouse
Macclesfield Marble Historical Paris Creek Quarry 3 west of Macclesfield Undifferentiated Normanville Group (Early Cambrian) 13 Hydris
Sellicks Hill Marble Sellicks Hill Quarry, Private Mine 163 Fork Tree Limestone (Early Cambrian) 14 Cosmic Connections, 22 The Sculptors
Balta Granite Breadknife Quarry Hiltaba Suite granite (Mesoproterozoic) 25 Infinity 2150
Desert Rose granite Extractive Minerals Lease 5676 Hiltaba Suite granite (Mesoproterozoic) 17 Star Gate
Minbrie Gneiss Mineral Lease 6021 Minbrie Gneiss (Sleaford Complex; Neoarchean 2570–2420 Ma) 25 Infinity 2150 (base)

Balta Granite

The Balta Granite outcrops within the Mount Woods area, south of Coober Pedy, and is part of the Hiltaba Suite. It is a non-foliated, brick-red, coarse-grained Mesoproterozoic (1600 Ma) granite with 50–60% K-feldspar, 20–30% quartz, 10% plagioclase and accessory biotite and magnetite (Ferris et al. 2001).

The granite was produced for road metal for the construction of the Stuart Highway from the Breadknife Quarry located about 55 km south of Coober Pedy. A tenement to the west of the Breadknife Quarry produced 240 tonnes of Sunset Red (trade name) granite for dimension stone from Mineral Lease 5920 in 1997.

Desert Rose granite

During the early 1990s quarries were opened near Calca, Minnipa and Wudinna on the central to lower Eyre Peninsula to produce many coloured varieties of granite from the Hiltaba Suite, marketed as Calca Red, Desert Ruby, Desert Rose and Desert Lilac.

The Desert Rose (trade name) granite is a coarse-grained, pink to red feldspar dominant granite of the Hiltaba Suite and is quarried from a single quarry (Extractive Minerals Lease 5676) located northeast of Wudinna on the northern Eyre Peninsula.

Minbrie Gneiss

The Minbrie Gneiss is a metamorphic rock found in the Cleve Hills to the west of Cowell. It forms part of the Sleaford Complex of rocks and has recently been dated Archean in age (2570–2420 Ma) (Wade et al. 2017).

In hand specimen the stone used for the symposium is red and dark grey in colour and comprises quartz, plagioclase, K-feldspar and biotite gneiss. It is biotite-rich in parts.

Royal Mahogany (trade name) was produced from the Minbrie Gneiss for dimension stone from the Elbow Hill Quarry located 16 km southwest of Cowell on the eastern Eyre Peninsula. One of few gneissic red granites quarried for dimension stone in South Australia, the Paradiso-style granite was popular as a monumental stone. The quarry was operational between 1999–2006 and produced a total of 3,221 tonnes of granite gneiss.

2016 sculptures

Artists’ comments are courtesy of the Hills Sculpture Trail website.

17 Star Gate

17 Star GateSculptor: Marijan Bekic, Australia.

Stone: Desert Rose granite featuring honed, polished and incised finishes and drill marks. The polished parts enhance the visibility of the zoned megacrystic feldspar minerals within the granite.

Site: Mick Murphy Park, Old Princes Highway, Nairne.

Artist’s comment: Marijan envisages friendships and partnerships being reinforced or reconnected through the sculpture by a gesture such as a kiss or a handshake. ‘Reconciliation, bringing people and communities together. Love – coming together from two sides to become one.’ (Photo 417555)

18 Brussels by Night

18 Brussels by NightSculptor: Renate Verbrugge, New Zealand.

Stone: Black Granite featuring honed, rough and ‘chicken feet’ finishes and saw marks which give the impression of relief and contrast.

Site: Keith Stephenson Park, Adelaide Road, Mount Barker.

Artist’s comment: ‘An urban presence to complement the soft natural surroundings of Keith Stephenson Park. Also a tribute to the capital of my home country, Brussels.’ (Photo 417556)

19 Co-existence

19 Co-existenceSculptor: Francesco Panceri, Crema, Italy.

Stone: Angaston Marble completed in a smooth finish on a base of Black Granite.

Site: 26 Onkaparinga Valley Road, Woodside.

Artist’s comment: ‘We are co-existence of body / We are air and earth / We are balanced and strong / We are free poets’. Francesco uses geometric forms as metaphors of the human condition. (Photo 417557)

20 Run like the Wind

20 Run like the WindSculptor: Gheorghi Filin, Italy.

Stone: Angaston Marble featuring occasional grey interbeds in predominantly white marble. Stylolites (serrated surfaces where minerals have been removed by pressure dissolution) are visible on top part.

Site: The foreshore, Milang.

Artist’s comment: ‘His work is subtle and evocative, by virtue of the progressive reduction of mass and volume. He liberates the forms from the weight of the material, and preserves the sense of organic connection to the earth, to live and breathe in purity’. (Photo 417558)

21 Prada

21 PradaSculptor: Anna Korver, New Zealand.

Stone: Black Granite completed in a polished finish.

Site: In front of the Stirling Hotel, Mount Barker Road, Stirling.

Artist’s comment: ‘Strong, feminine, movement and dance. A classic sculpture to bring out the whimsical in us.’ (Photo 417559)

22 The Sculptors

22 The SculptorsSculptor: Liu Yang, China.

Stone: Sellicks Hill Marble featuring polished geometrical shapes upon the rough untouched surface of a boulder.

Site: Newenham, Mount Barker.

Artist comment: ‘Colour and texture, balance and soul. Two forms that come together in harmony.’ (Photo 417560)

23 The View 2

23 The View 2Sculptor: Karin van Ommeren, the Netherlands.

Stone: Black Granite featuring polished, textured and rough finishes.

Site: Williams Road, Mount Barker.

Artist comment: ‘The sculpture shows a round form with a twisted square. We look through the space in the middle to the scenery behind. Looking through we see our road, our goal, walking around we see a square, a triangle and back always watching the landscape.’ (Photo 417561)

24 Sunshine and Showers

24 Sunshine and ShowersSculptor: Simon Thomas, England.

Stone: Paris Creek Marble with a smooth finish on a base of coarse, rough Angaston white marble. Note the slight colour variation within the middle of the sculpture.

Site: Sunter Street, Strathalbyn (adjacent to St Andrews Church).

Artist’s comments: ‘The importance of rain and the danger of fire in this location. The lower part forms the flames with the above representing melting water.’ (Photo 417562)

25 Infinity 2150

25 Infinity 2150Sculptor: So Dong Choe, Korea.

Stone: Balta Granite (top) and Minbrie Gneiss (base). The polished finish enhances the megacrystic texture and blood-red colour of the granite.

Site: The Cedars, Hahndorf.

Artist’s comment: ‘My work is about hope and optimism for the future, not dwelling on the past. I am inspired by the power of nature, the growth and blooming of flowers and machinery forms that will power a future age. Infinity 2150 shows the growth and blooming of flowers of architectural form for the future of the planet.’ (Photo 417563)

26 Sunshine

26 SunshineSculptor: Yoshin Ogata, Japan.

Stone: Black Granite featuring the sculptor’s distinctive relief carving.

Site: Mill Road, corner of Mount Barker and Bridgewater Roads, Bridgewater.

Artist’s comment: ‘Sunshine’ is a memorial to Chris Steele Scott who passed away shortly after the 2014 sculpture symposium. Yoshin has depicted the sun radiating waves of warmth and light and talked about Chris’s friendly and warm nature. The droplet is a drop of sunshine. ‘She was always smiling’. (Photos 417564 and 417745)

26 Sunshine

For more information, contact:

Joanne Hough