It’s not quite finished, but the new roundabout that stands at the intersection of Coldstream and Yamba streets connects with the town’s history.
Three of four mosaics and three plaques have been put in place to compliment the surfboard-based sculpture that stands within the structure.
The roundabout’s own history can be traced back to the former Maclean shire council, which included the traffic-calmer in the Yamba Town Centre Master Plan, “to upgrade infrastructure and improve amenity in the Yamba town centre”, Clarence Valley Council’s works and civil director, Troy Anderson, said.
“There was a project design team that included specialist urban design consultants Environmental Partnerships NSW, with traffic engineering input from Aspect North,” he said.
“This team worked with councillors, council officers (through a project steering committee) and the community.
“The master plan included a landscaped roundabout … and identified a sculpture/art work for the location.
“We used Maclean-based landscape architect, Lynda Ohlmus, to come up with a detailed design that incorporated the master plan’s marine theme.
“The project was coordinated by council’s carpentry staff and local artists.
“Yamba Museum researched the history and provided the photographs [and documentation proofreading] for the information plates.”
The plates were manufactured by Lower Clarence business, Signcraft & Design.
“Linda and Brian Myers of Yamba were engaged to develop the four ceramic mosaic artwork panels,” Mr Anderson said.
“I think this has been a great project and shows what can be achieved through council and locals working together.”
Chair of the Clarence Valley Cultural Committee, Debrah Novak, said the roundabout’s artworks complimented the intent of the council’s cultural plan (2013-16), which discusses the installation of public art in relation to the council’s Clarence River Way Masterplan.
“One of the features of the plan was sculpture – there’s one at Turners Beach, Yamba and one at Maclean,” she said.
“What’s great is that the four corners of the roundabout represent storylines from Yamba’s history.
“The wonderful thing is that we used local artists; and the sculpture council staff made and installed is just great.”
The fourth mosaic and an associated plaque, which will focus on the Yeagl People – the traditional custodians of the coastal areas around Yamba, Iluka and Maclean –, are still in the process of being designed and created.
The plaques installed to date tell the stories of: surfer Tommy Walker and photographer Osric Notely, who took a picture of Walker doing a headstand at Main Beach during the summer of 1911-12 – Walker is believed to be the first Australian surfboard rider; the formation of the Yamba Surf Life Saving Brigade in 1908 and the subsequent construction of the clubhouse at Main Beach in 1913; and, Yamba’s first shipping pilot, Captain Francis Freeburn, who took on the duty in 1854, and the establishment of lighthouse, weather station and residences on Pilot Hill.