SOLVED! The case of the missing cockroach
It was said to be a mystery, or perhaps a theft; how a six-foot high sculpture of a cockroach weighing more than 500kg could magically up and vanish from its home along Port Wakefield Road, Lower Light, where it has presided for the past 15 years.
But it’s no mystery, there’s been no thieving in the night and it’s all turned out rather well for the future of the iconic “political art” sculptures of nearby Dublin.
The cockroach figure was removed by members of the Two Wells Regional Action Team at the request of the landholder, due to concerns about people climbing fences to get a better look and traffic being hindered along the busy highway.
TWRAT president, Eddie Stubing, said the cockroach was removed, not without some effort and cost to the volunteers mind you, in September and taken to his Adelaide Plains Recycling business outside Two Wells for safekeeping.
Mr Stubing said the action team wanted to keep the sculpture, which is one of seven created during the late 1990s as a protest against the State Government, led by then premier, John Olsen, constructing a waste dump on the outskirts of Dublin.
Other sculptures included a rat, an observatory tower, a Ned Kelly figure on horseback, a space ship, a tin man, and a giant fly.
“We want to find a home for all of these statues as they shouldn’t be lost,” Mr Stubing said. “These spectacular pieces are unique and we will never see the likes of them again.”
Noticing the absence of one of these statues, one concerned Adelaide Plains resident contacted media identity Andrew “Cosi” Costello, of television show ‘South Aussie with Cosi’ fame, via Facebook and he immediately set about hunting it down.
South Australian tourism minister, Leon Bignell, has even become involved, pledging $1000 to a “fighting” fund to restore the cockroach when he met with TWRAT members, statue creator Steve Jones and a few locals on Wednesday November 20.
“There’s so much love for the cockroach and we consider these statues a really important series of icons in the state,” Mr Bignell said. “It’s really important we keep these things, we’ve had a whole generation grow up with it all.”
Mr Bignell said he was not aware of too many other political satire art forms in Australia and these sculptures had stood the test of time. “There’s not too many examples of this in Australia, it’s a great tribute to the resilience of the local community and the passion they felt and it’s important from an art point of view and a tourism perspective.”
“Cosi” was tongue in cheek about having bought the cockroach for two slabs of beer, and said once restored they would hopefully spend a bit of time in Rundle Mall for all South Australians and visitors to admire before being donated back to the state.
“I grew up watching these statues pop up,” he said. “As a dad I’m sharing the same thing with my kids, so naturally I want to see them looked after.”
Cosi said the Facebook posting was shared 12,000 times in its first 48 hours, more than 300,000 had read it and 10,000 had “liked” it.
Sculpture creator, and District Council of Mallala Dublin ward councillor, Steve Jones, said it was fantastic news the future of the statue had been secured.
TWRAT vice president, Bev Smith-Trim, said while the outcome for the statue had been positive, she was disappointed someone from the area had gone straight to the media about their concerns rather than asking for an explanation from TWRAT.