Eltham Council (now the Shire of Nillumbik) commissioned this work in 1989 to create an entrance / gateway to Edendale Community Farm. It was also aided by a grant from the Ministry of the Arts (now Arts Victoria). The former name of this work was "Gateway to Edendale Farm". Edendale Farm is a demonstration farm modelling sustainable environmental practices, providing support to the local residents of Nillumbik. Established in 1986, the land was purchased in 1970. It was previously an English gentleman's residence and was used for grazing. It consists of 5.6 hectares, with the Diamond Creek meandering through the property.
The Victorian Fences Act 1968 governs liability of occupiers of adjoining lands to fence, and deals with disputes between neighbours regarding boundaries fences and costs.
This work took into consideration ideas and suggestions from residents and committees, who required the use of recycled materials and that the work celebrate man's relationship with nature, animals and the earth, as well as relate to the fence-line on the far side of the carpark. Trembath also absorbed significant aspects of local history, making references to Eltham's agricultural past, the clearing of the land, the destruction of trees, the ruthless pruning of trees by suburban Councils and incorporated such Australian features as the post and rail fence.
'The Fences Act 1968' is significant for aesthetic, historic and social reasons at a regional level. It makes prominent the historical and social significance of Edendale and the rural aspects of Nillumbik. The use of existing tree stumps and salt pots in the work explores the iconography of the countryside such as the isolated farmhouse, pioneering farming practices, post and rail fencing and the regrowth of lopped trees. The title of the work, as well as the extensive community involvement in its creation, also makes reference to the Victorian Fences Act 1968, which makes neighbours jointly responsible for the cost of construction and maintenance of fences in the partitioning of land for settlement.
'The Fences Act 1968' has been classified as of regional significance by the National Trust of Australia.
The work is an installation of wood and metal, approximately twenty five meters long. The design is very informal and rustic and runs the full width of the fence-line. It comprises groups of recycled tree trunks fitted with metal caps (chrome-nickel 'salt pots' that are shaped like tall bowler / top hats). Metal rods protrude from the trunks and some of these rods have metal birds. Two larger, sentinel-like stumps at the two outer ends have metal flame-like wings, which bend inward. To the left of the entrance, a simple architectural element indicates an isolated farmhouse. The rustic fence runs between the groups of tree trunks with native planting in clumps along it. The fence-line incorporates a functional engineered double gate and post and rail fencing.
There may be many interpretations of the work and the intention is to stimulate interest and imagination rather than alienate. Interpretation is based on the personal experience that a visitor brings. The artist recommended that no explanation of the design logic be positioned with the work.
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