Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bullocks in Henderson

A wonderful example of what to do with rusted rubbish removed from our streams stands in Henderson beside a busy road, Vitasovich Avenue. In 1997, the rusted equivalent of this ...

was transformed to this ...

From the Waitakere City Council site:

"Local Waitakere artist and blacksmith Stuart Slater was presented with the challenge of creating "something great out of a load of old rubbish." The result is a pair of 3 metre long 1.8 metre high Bullocks formed from the skeletons of discarded shopping trolleys recovered from the Oratia stream ...

"Beginning in January 1997, after drawing the outlines of the bullocks on large pieces of paper, Stuart and his daughter Shelley used reinforcing steel to shape the profile and armature of each beast. They cut up the metal shopping trolleys and beat the mesh into shape with hammers before welding them into position. Five trolley bottoms were used for each head and eight bottoms for the bullocks' backs. The sides of the trolleys became the ribs.

"Fine black mesh was laid over the structures under a layer of chicken mesh, to shape the muscles and the haunches. Fibrous cement was then applied to build up the main body and to shape the fetlocks, hooves and horns, and to give the bullocks character. 

"The Council's parks department donated a railway sleeper for the yoke, which is placed at "dragging distance" behind the Bullocks.

"Community involvement with the project was. The local community became involved of the project and was genuinely proud and excited by what was achieved (evidenced by comments made in the on-site visitor's book). The Bullocks were completed in March 1997, with an official unveiling held on April 30, 1997."

The result is a sudden and wonderful find while walking up the road.

I told Trevor Pollard, President of the West Auckland Historical Society, that I was going to put the bullocks up on this blog today, and he gave me permission to include this image (below) of the bullocks, superimposed on a scene showing Mill Cottage (he had an idea to have something like the bullocks there, but the price was prohibitive). It would have been nice -- but instead, West Auckland went for their car park mural.


  1. What fantastic sculptures let's hope they remain for a heck of a lifetime. Great post love the photos just awesome.

  2. They're not doing too bad so far, it seems, Liz. Just a bit of tagging on one of the snouts. Seems their metal construction is proving a hardy option. I hope they're there for a long time.

  3. Very nice documentation, Lisa. I often drive past the bullocks, and finally stopped the other day to take photos. By coincidence, there is a picture of Shelley Slater (mentioned above) painting a transformer in Hepburn Road on my auckland-west blog today.

  4. That's it -- you've just sparked another post, Paul. Cheers for letting me know!

  5. Fab post and those beasties are just brilliant, the blacksmith-artists are very talented!