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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Piece of Whyalla history returns home

A historical piece of South Australian art has been returned to its Whyalla birthplace.

The artwork, which depicts the region’s original Hummock Hill cottages, is now under the care of Whyalla City Council.

The framed work’s story began in 1989 when the late Sir James Balderstone retired after five years as BHP chairman and was presented with a pastel drawing by BHP management, the Council said in a statement.

It has an even stronger and special connection with Whyalla as it was commissioned by BHP from Whyalla-born artist, Glenda Parker, Council says.

Glenda first studied fine art in 1978 through the TAFE Art and Craft Certificate at the Whyalla Campus. She subsequently moved to Adelaide in 1992 where she has explored a lifetime working in various mediums, including silk painting, watercolour, acrylic and pastel painting.

The painting was given to former resident, Richard Willson, by Sir James’ daughter, Elizabeth, around a year ago when she became aware of Richard’s previous connection with Whyalla.

Richard, along with brothers Craig and Donald, were the original owners and publishers of the Whyalla News publication in the 1960’s to ‘80s.

“When he became aware of who was the current Whyalla Mayor, Richard decided Whyalla Council would be the perfect curator to ensure the painting was preserved and looked after for decades to come,” Council said.

“You see, Richard hired Whyalla’s now Mayor Phill back in 1974 as a young journalist. Phill then worked at Whyalla News for five and a half years before commencing a career in local government.

“Phill often quips that ‘you can blame Richard for me being here – I needed a job and he needed a journo. I then met a fellow journo who I married and 50 years later we are still embedded in Whyalla and looking forward to the city’s exciting future’.

“So, after attempting to schedule a trip to Whyalla for some time, Richard and wife Dianne, finally caught up with the Mayor recently on their way to a Port Neill holiday to personally deliver the artwork for its future safe-keeping – the first time they had caught up since a Whyalla News 75-year reunion in 2015.”

Hummock Hill cottages - original blueprint

Hummock Hill cottages, original blueprint.

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