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Creative Director: Stephen Burton
Art Director: Lindsay Tucker
Created by: Lindsay Tucker, Stephen Burton
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Copywriter: Stephen Burton
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Photo Credit for POMO Studio Image: Lucas Muro www.lucasmuro.com.au

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Public Art Proposal - Cairns


PUMPED - A Water and Waste Trail in Cairns

This case study reflects a proposal that was submitted to Cairns Council for the provision of design and project management of a public art project. The council called for expressions of interest for the development of artistic concepts to better utilising wastewater pumping stations scattered throughout the city.

Using a placemaking methodology we researched local history, indigenous heritage and sought out themes that connected these wastewater pumping stations to their local areas. We conducted a site analysis of each station and identified constraints and opportunities for the design and physical creation of the works.

Our place sensitive approach resulted in three creative concepts that reflected the local history and stories of each site and were capable of being implemented fast and functioned as part of a visual network across the three locations.


Our concept is inspired by early settlers of the area who were drawn to the region for gold fossicking. People used the river as a source of income and a means to carry out household tasks like clothes washing. The importance of the river in early settlements in the Cairns area is an important cultural history which has inspired this artistic concept.

Our concept shows an early settler, a man, a gold panner and a woman with washing in hand. The simple linework of the characters is contrasted with the abstract interpretation of the river and movement of water across submerged objects.

The river was and is a source of life, income and an important part of the local history of the area.


The Kamerunga Road site has proximity to Barron Gorge where Barron Falls are found. Waterfalls have significance in local indigenous culture, as a place of spirit and a place of gathering. Waterfalls as part of river systems more broadly played an important role in the life in the local indigenous people the Yirrganydji.

Yirrganydji people used these river environments for their food, clothing and other needs. This artistic concept celebrates indigenous culture with a powerful uplifting image of young indigenous men standing proud on a rock formation at the foot of the Barron Falls.


This site is located near the major water supply for Cairns - Lake Morris. One of the city's engineers, Mr. F Morris, explored by hiking on foot through the Lamb Range to the west of the city to find a place to build a dam. In 1935 he found a site at Copperlode falls.

This artistic concept pays homage to the pivotal role that Mr. Morris's weekend hiking adventures played in establishing this resource for Cairns.


The works are site appropriate in so far as they reflect the current use of the buildings, drawing attention to their purpose and role in providing water related services.

Each work is site-specific and designed for maximum visual impact on the site and visible to vehicle traffic and pedestrians.

Each concept features a person or people that played a role in the early history of the Cairns area.

Indigenous history is represented as are European men and women - inclusive and reflective of the Cairns demographic.

Historical concepts connected to modern day uses help us to draw connections between the past and present and create a sense of place.

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Australian Institute of Landscape Architects National Award
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