Border Express comes to Winmar statue rescue


Border Express thanked for free transport of Nicky Winmar's bronze statue from Melbourne to Perth

Border Express comes to Winmar statue rescue
Winmar, pictured with Lauman and the statue

 

Indigenous AFL player Nicky Winmar’s iconic gesture against racism, immortalised in bronze, has made it to its spiritual home in Western Australia – with a bit of help from transport company Border Express.

Crowd-funded and commissioned by the AFL, the 2.7m-tall statue created by Melbourne-based sculptor Louis Laumen depicts Wayne Ludbey’s photograph of Winmar raising his St Kilda guernsey and pointing to his chest after a win over Collingwood at their Victoria Park home – in response to racist abuse aimed at teammate Gilbert McAdam.

It became a defining symbol of Aboriginal pride and opposition to racism in Australian sport.

Western Australian-born Noongar man Winmar – who played for South Fremantle before moving to St Kilda – had wished for the statue to have a permanent home on Noongar land.

However, despite being finished nine months ago, the statue had been sitting at Melbourne’s Fundere Fine Art Foundry "gathering dust".

That was when Border Express stepped in.

"When our general manger of WA branch made us aware that this incredible statue of Nicky Winmar was in need of transport from Melbourne to Perth, coming to the party assisting with the transport free of charge for us was a no brainer," CEO Mostafa Kassaby says.

"We are completely behind supporting the course that he stood for in 1993 that is still relevant in a bigger way today."

The statue is now set to be to be installed in the Optus Stadium precinct and unveiled on July 6, before the Western Derby, on the eve of NAIDOC Week.


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Border Express received high praise from the Western Australian government for its generosity.

"The state government has expressed its appreciation to transport company Border Express, which offered to deliver the statue from Victoria to Western Australia free of charge," a government statement reads.

The sentiment was echoed by WA peak road transport body Western Roads Federation (WRF).

"All credit to Border Express who did a great job," CEO Cam Dumesny says.

"We had called for members to provide transport after the story broke in WA a week or so ago."

Dumesny also thanked Pam Simpson from Tristate Transport, who "kindly offered to transport the statue from Melbourne back to Perth which we put forward".

"Regardless it's here now, and has been given a rightful place of public prominence at Optus Stadium in Perth."

Final word goes to Winmar, who says "the artist has done an incredible job acknowledging this moment in my life".

"It's a surreal thing to be a part of and it's something my family are very proud of.

"I hope this statue encourages more conversations and education about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture."

 

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