In 2007 Australian-Croatian sculptor and member of the The Sculptor’s Society Marijan Bekic was commissioned to create a sculpture for the small south Australian farming town of Wudinna. Originally proposed back in 1992, the sculpture was intended to be a community memorial to the early settlers of the region. The project was sponsored and financed by the local community. However, due to the drought and the subsequent cut-backs to arts funding, the project was delayed several times before it finally, and sadly got cancelled.
Thanks to a small group of locals however, the project was started up again, but yet again, because of the drought, the future of the project was jeopardised. At this point Marijan enlisted the help of the Croatian community and was shocked at the level of support he received, eventually raising $20,000 towards the project.
Frank Cetinich, director of CEFRANK UK Ltd is proud to be one of those contributors. Thanks to his and many others’ generous donations and after two years of hard work, The Australian Farmer sculpture was finally realised. To honour the generosity of the many private citizens who invested in this project, Marijan constructed a granite wall around the sculpture that contains the names of the people who contributed.
The Australian Farmer (also known as the Big Farmer) is a statue located in Wudinna, South Australia. Regarded as one of Australia’s Big Things, the granite sculpture stands at 8 metres (26 ft) in height, and weighs in the vicinity of 70 tonnes. It took 17 years to produce from initial proposal to the final unveiling in 2009, and two years for the artist, Marijan Bekic (with the assistance of his son, David), to carve. The stylised work of a farmer represents the early settlers of the region, with carvings symbolising grain and sheep found within the sculpture. While it takes a basic human form, the top represents the sun, while in the body are carved grain crops. Sheep are placed at the foot of the statue, representing the sheep farmers in the district as well as creating the feet of the figure when viewed from a distance.