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Utes in the Paddock:

Condobolin, Central Western NSW

2020 Winner: Best Sculpture Park or Trail

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Take 20 classic Holden utes, hand them over to 20 outback-inspired artists and give them free reign to create 20 masterpieces. The result? Utes in the Paddock – one of the quirkiest and most fun art attractions in Australia.

 

Then place those utes together on the edge of the welcoming central western NSW town of Condobolin surrounded by natural beauty on the Lachlan River, with the picturesque campgrounds of Lake Cargelligo and Gum Bend Lake on the town’s doorstep. It is a bonanza for visitors.

 

And it all started when local farmers Jana and Graham Pickles headed off across the United States on a well-deserved holiday travelling the famed Route 66. They were drawn to an unusual attraction named 'Cadillac Ranch', located in western Texas. Intrigued by the ranch’s popularity, the Pickles returned with the inkling of a notion. Locals donated the vehicles, gifted artists donated their time and an art attraction without parallel was born.

 

This is a country enshrined in artistic merit, as witnessed by the words of Banjo Paterson:

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better

Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,

He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,

Just “on spec”, addressed as follows: “Clancy, of The Overflow”.

 

Clancy Stops the Overflow’, a ute fashioned into a giant bottle of Bundy rum that is being pulled back upright as to not spill its precious contents, is typical of the humour on display throughout the artworks. Mixed with that humour are stories of resilience, originality and invention that form the outback character. The outdoor gallery is a showcase on how to find fun in the simple things in life amongst the hardships.

Another of the utes was painted by Joh Murray, renowned for his stylised native animals. In the video below he describes how his ute, called Circle Work, came about. It's all about galahs in cars!

Where? The Gipps Way, one kilometre from Condobolin town centre on the road to Forbes.

Best viewing times: Daytime