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‘Mullum Mullum the Owl’ makes its landing in Ringwood

13 July 2017


Maroondah City Council has today unveiled its latest public art acquisition – the Mullum Mullum the Owl.

Taking its rightful place along the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail (adjacent to Acacia Court), Maroondah Mayor Councillor Tony Dib said the sculpture would serve as a real talking point for visitors to the trail.

“The creation of this wonderful and unique bronze cast sculpture depicts a Powerful Owl, a species that can still be seen along the Mullum Mullum Creek. It also reflects the meaning of ‘Mullum Mullum’, which is an adaptation from the Woiwurrung language meaning ‘a place of many large birds’,” Cr Dib said.

Following a call for proposals in late 2016, Council commissioned award-winning sculptor William Eicholtz to produce the public artwork, which together with a rock-base plinth, stands an impressive 1.65 metres tall and weighs 750 kilograms.

“I’m proud to be unveiling the ‘Mullum Mullum the Owl’ today, and I’m sure you’ll agree that once you’ve seen the sculpture up close the highlight, apart from the stunning gumnut and leaf detail in the body, are its beautiful, lead crystal eyes which have mirrored backs,” he said.

Artist William Eicholtz said he hoped people would interact with the sculpture and appreciate its cultural connection to the area.

“Public art is so important and I feel as though this sculpture gives a real identity to this area,” Eicholtz said.

owl“Mullum Mullum is the Indigenous word for a place of great birds and the Powerful Owl is native to this particular area in Ringwood along the Mullum Mullum Creek,” said Eicholtz, who took his inspiration from collecting native flora from the area and incorporating it into his design piece.

Eicholtz has completed many major public artworks in Australia and abroad, most notably his ‘Lady of Justice’ which stands prominently outside the entrance to Melbourne’s Victorian County Court building. In 2005, he won Australia’s most prestigious sculpture art prize, The Helen Lempriere Sculpture Award, for his flamboyant, neo-Baroque work The Comrade’s Reward.

He said he was both humbled and proud to be leaving Maroondah a legacy for the future.

“One of the joys of having public work displayed is to know that you’re leaving a legacy, and this is a fantastic vision the council has for cultural outreach to the community,” he said.

The Mullum Mullum the Owl public artwork unveiling coincides with the launch of Council’s Acacia Catchment Flood Mitigation Project – one of the largest flood mitigation projects to date.

“The addition of public artworks in major civic works projects is a new direction for Council, but is one that brings a sense of culture and community into unexpected spaces,” Cr Dib said.

Acacia Catchment Drainage Upgrade

In order to cater for the significant level of development in the area, Council is undertaking extensive drainage works to protect properties in the event of a 100 year storm event.

The drainage works to date have included the construction of a new drainage outfall to the Mullum Mullum Creek at Acacia Court, including a Water Sensitive Urban Design raingarden in the reserve, as well as new drainage along a section of Nelson Street, Browns Avenue and Bourke Street, Ringwood. More raingardens will be constructed in Nelson Street, Browns Avenue and Bourke Street as part of the final stage of works in 2017/18. These elements will also add a visual amenity to the surrounding road network and create an attractive addition to the local street network.

“Unfortunately, these storms are becoming reality and the infrastructure needed to be updated to protect the neighbourhood from overland flows and from direct water into our stormwater drainage systems,” said Mayor of Maroondah, Cr Tony Dib.

“While much of the work has been done underground, we have also focused on creating Water Sensitive Urban Design elements which will help to clean the stormwater before it enters the Mullum Mullum Creek.”

“As one of Council’s largest flood mitigation projects, it is comforting to know that local residents will be protected if, and when, we experience our next major storm event,” Cr Dib said.

For more information on Council’s Acacia Catchment Flood Mitigation Project, visit our Acacia Court Works page.

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