Famous sculpture, known as the Rusty Chook, to be removed after becoming a safety hazard
Gold Coast City Council is looking at taking down the iconic eagle sculpture that overlooks Kirra. It’s been reported that due to the ongoing deterioration of the 2.4-tonne, rust-red eagle it will need to be removed for safety reasons. 18 months ago the council was forced to erect fencing around the work and it has only got worse since then.
The idea for the eagle first came in 1982. The renowned Coolangatta sculptor Craig Medson approached the Gold Coast City Council for permission to place a sculpture on the hilltop and for financial support to help cover the cost of constructing the huge bird of prey. It was intended to commemorate the Coolangatta centenary in 1984.
However, the idea of hanging a steel eagle 15 metres out over Kirra Hill wasn’t initially well-received. The Gold Coast City Council's co-ordination committee voted against funding the project, while the concept of such a large piece of work in a prominent location divided the opinion of the general public.
However, eventually Coast City Council Alderman Betty Diamond found some dosh under the council chambers sofa and allocated $2000 out of her Ward 10 funds towards the project. Local Coolangatta real estate agent Adrian Maher then gave Medson eight grand of his own 1983 money to ensure the eagle was completed by 1984.
The “rusty chook” as it is known by locals, was made from 6 mm plate steel which Medson feathered with jagged cut-outs and welding, twisting and bending the metal to achieve the end result. Over time it simply became part of the furniture and folklore of Kirra. And even as the famous wave was silted up by the Superbank, it stood sentinel over the break reminding that for three decades Kirra was the best wave in the world.
However, like the wave, the eagle also hasn’t stood the test of time. Unfortunately, the eagle creator Medson took his own life in early 2015 after a long battle with depression. The council, however, has contacted his mother regarding the possible removal of the sculpture and there are plans to erect another artwork. It is thought, with respect to Medson, a replica won’t be made, but it is hoped that another piece could be commissioned by a local sculptor that would honour the original artist and his work. It won’t be the Rusty Chook but hopefully it will, over time, come to generate the same level of respect, awe, and sense of home that Medson’s creation has done over the last 25 years.