Strolling through Canberra’s City Walk, the city’s most popular pedestrian thoroughfare, one can’t help but be taken aback by the confronting pose adopted by one of the merino sheep sculptures. On its back with legs in the air, the sheep seems to be ‘presenting’ to its woolly companion a couple of metres away. Hardly an appropriate image for the kiddies.
Here in Adelaide, we have taken a much ‘cleaner’ approach to our animal sculptures. Rather than licentious livestock, our main public mall is home to a drove of cavorting, scavenging pigs – and, yes, ‘drove’ is apparently the correct collective noun for a group of pigs.
The Rundle Mall Pigs
Launched in 1999, the bronze four-pig sculpture is officially known as ‘A Day Out’ by Melbourne sculptor (grr) Marguerite Derricourt. The pigs are depicted in various poses with their four names decided by a public popularity poll: Truffles (the standing pig), Horatio (the sitting pig), Oliver (the pig at the bin) and Augusta (the trotting pig).
Contrary to the popular nursery rhyme, these piggies chose not to go to market – the Central Market presumably – and diverted to Rundle Mall where they are, according to the Adelaide Official City Guide, ’snuffling out a bargain’.
But from where I’m sitting, shopping is the last thing on their mind – Oliver has his nose in a bin snuffling out discarded foodstuffs from the nearby City Cross food court (or perhaps 10c deposit cans?), Horatio is bugging passers-by for loose change, whilst Truffles and Augusta busy themselves by taking the kids for a ride.
Despite the questionable activities of the Rundle Mall pigs, they have become a highly-recognisable fixture of our busiest shopping mall. And unlike Canberra’s sheep, there are no inappropriate public displays of affection.