Fibre for rusty Daisy

AFTER 22 years of service to Kiama, Daisy the Decorated Dairy Cow could be moo-ving on.

Last Tuesday night, Kiama councillors voted on a staff recommendation to spend $10,000 remaking Daisy into a fibreglass sculpture.

At the meeting the council approved investigating the costs and methods for the restoration.

They will consider community or business donations for the project, to offset the cost.

The artwork was created in 1991 by sculptor Ernesto Murgo, based on a cow named Meadowhaven Daisy the 47th, part of the Walsh Australian Illawarra shorthorn herd at Jamberoo.

Daisy has since been housed and displayed at the Old Fire Station Community Arts Centre.

Originally made from wire and papier mache, Daisy was later coated in plaster and sisal to protect her original frame.

"According to gathered evidence it would appear that Daisy was the first of her kind with 'copies' now found worldwide in Zurich, Madrid, Tokyo, New York, Shepparton and Devon . . . all being created after Daisy's 'birth' date in 1991," the council report said.

A few years ago the council commissioned sculptor Anita Larkin to repair Daisy, whose internal wire framework had rusted away.

Last year, council staff sought views from artists on how Daisy might best be repaired.

"Daisy is beyond repair without major structural work being undertaken.

"Ideally Daisy should be recast in fibreglass to ensure durability and movability," the report said.

The council's community and cultural development officer, Louise Croker, wanted the community to be involved.

"The council has asked us to investigate coating Daisy with a layer of fibreglass, rather than making a whole new model," she said.

"We'd be keen to talk to anyone who works with fibreglass, and seek their advice on the process and costings."

In 2010, Kiama folk singer and writer Phyl Lobl researched Daisy's history and documented it as part of a Kiama Library writing workshop.

Daisy's Authorised Biography was published.

Mrs Lobl said Daisy was not only an impetus to resume songwriting upon moving to Kiama seven years ago, but also encouraged her to embrace the area's history.

"Kiama was one of the first places in the world to have a public cow," she said. "It reflects the history of the town, and a town that wants community participation and encourages the arts.

"They need to keep her," Mrs Lobl said.

"As long as they keep her as she is, whether it's a carbon copy or a fix-up of the current Daisy.

"Otherwise it loses the distinctiveness."

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