Official Opening of ‘Taking Flight’ Sculpture Honouring Arthur Baird


Benalla Rural City Council is delighted to invite the community to the official opening of ‘Taking Flight,’ a sculpture dedicated to Arthur Baird.

The event will take place at midday on Saturday 22 June 2024, at the Benalla Library Carpark, located at 2 Fawckner Drive Benalla.

Arthur Baird, who was born and educated in Benalla, made significant contributions to aviation engineering. He was one of the first three employees of Qantas and was instrumental in setting up The Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Commissioned by Victorian artist Alex Sanson, ‘Taking Flight’ is an impressive tribute to Baird’s legacy. The sculpture, inspired by the de Havilland DH-50 aircraft, stands over five metres high and is constructed entirely of satin-finish marine grade stainless steel. Its deliberately incomplete design references Baird’s engineering background, suggesting half-built models, parts, and prototypes.

Mayor Cr Danny Claridge expressed his enthusiasm for the project saying the sculpture is a fitting tribute to Arthur Baird’s remarkable achievements and his roots in Benalla.

“We are proud to honour Arthur Bairds contributions to aviation and engineering with this magnificent work of art by Alex Sanson.”

“The project was passionately driven by Barry O’Connor, with tireless volunteer efforts from Beverley ‘Chick’ Walker and Pam Herbert of the Benalla Family Research Group. The dedication and passion of Barry, Chick, and Pam has been instrumental in bringing this project to life. Their commitment to celebrating our local heritage is truly inspiring.

“I encourage the community to join us for the official opening of this impressive sculpture. We look forward to welcoming everyone to this momentous occasion.”

This project was made possible through the generous funding from the Victorian State Government.

Please note that the Library Carpark will be closed on Saturday to facilitate the official opening of the sculpture.

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