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Tribute to a Melbourne icon

29 Oct 2013

Tribute to a Melbourne icon Image

A new public artwork on the edge of Docklands celebrates Melbourne’s affinity with the W-Class tram.

The sculpture, which was installed at the corner of Spencer St and Flinders St last month, is a scale replica of the last W-Class “rattler” tram built in 1956 – the 1040 model.

Created by artist David Michael Bell, the sculpture rises 10 metres off the ground at a 10 degree angle

W-Class trams were commissioned between the 1920s and 1950s and continue to operate in Melbourne, travelling through Docklands via the City Circle and route 30.

According to Mr Bell, the W-class tram is iconic to Melbourne and is an important part of the city’s history.

“Most of us remember those old tram trips, when the contact pole came off the wire and the conductor had to get out and re-position,” Mr Bell said.

“There are huge stone statues and plinths all over the world as tribute to people, but I wanted to pay tribute to an object.”

“Raising the Rattler Pole is a piece that everyone can identify with, while remembering their own stories.”

Mr Bell said he had been working on the piece for over a year.

The sculpture was commissioned by the City of Melbourne through its Public Art Program.

According to Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, Raising the Rattler Pole is a fantastic addition to Melbourne’s public art collection.

“It is sure to become an iconic piece that is talked about by Melburnians and visitors alike,” the Lord Mayor said.

Chair of Arts and Culture, councillor Rohan Leppert said the City of Melbourne was delighted to see a beloved Melbourne object become part of the city’s public art collection.

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