Lee Black Shearwater

THREE Brothers will again stand together in the main street of Taree to add another creative element to the developing Civic Heart project.

For around seven years the life-sized sculpture by Malcolm Wallace and Renae Dixon has remained unseen, resting in storage at Manning Regional Art Gallery.

The Manning Valley community celebrated its placement in Victoria Street in 2007 but it was a short-lived display as vandals pushed it from its mounting adjacent to Ngarrilinyi Radio Station. Gallery staff gathered it up, stored it and now, thanks to Shearwater Marine Engineering it will be repaired and returned to public viewing during November.

Three Brothers commemorates the 40th anniversary of the 1967 federal referendum which formally recognised Aboriginal people in Australia and depicts the story of 'The Three Brothers' which represent the Three Brother Mountains that stand between Taree and Port Macquarie. The life-sized sculptures feature abstract body art similar to that which might have been painted on the bodies of Aboriginal people from the local area.

The catalyst for the decision to bring the Three Brothers back to the community is the Civic Heart project that is being driven by Tidy Up Taree organiser, Graham Brown. The initiative is gaining momentum in the broader business community and Manning Regional Art Gallery director, Sue Mitchell is supporting the push to create an innovative and creative space by donating sculptures, such as the Three Brothers and also the three-metre goanna sculpture by Rick Reynolds that currently rests in the gallery grounds in Macquarie Street, Taree.

Mr Brown is excited about the opportunity to give the Three Brothers back to the community and says "Shearwater is to be applauded for putting its hand up to help to get it repaired and mounted so that it will be a rock-solid feature in the main street."

Shearwater Marine Engineering is local but its work is sought throughout Australia and according to Mr Brown, it is always looking to contribute to the community in which its staff live.

The successful business has been operating in Taree for more than a decade and given its resources and time to numerous groups and events including Old Bar Soccer Club Barbarians, Manning Valley Kart Club, Manning Aero Club, the former Manning River Festival, various Rotary clubs, Camp Memories Tinonee and the Variety Club.

Mr Brown says Tidy Up Taree and the emerging Civic Heart project started out "as business helping business" in Taree.

"We've all lost sight of that fact. We've gotten excited about the grass, or the sculptures and everything else but I want to remind people that it really is about the whole community coming together and being led by our business community who is saying, 'hey! we can and want to do things for our town and we can be trusted!" Graham explained.

"This (Civic Heart project) is not a half-baked process. It has been picked up by professional businesses who are going to make sure it is done properly, and who want to contribute to the development of our community and town."

Read the original article in The Manning Times