The Guyra Big Lamb Monument celebrates 30 years

SELFIE: Lamb appreciators Gabi Eather, Mikayla Tinlin and Belinda Broom stop to take a selfie with the Guyra Big Lamb.
SELFIE: Lamb appreciators Gabi Eather, Mikayla Tinlin and Belinda Broom stop to take a selfie with the Guyra Big Lamb.

IT’S 30 years since The Big Lamb was erected on the New England Highway.

At 3:30pm on Tuesday, January 26 1988 a large crowd gathered at the Guyra Lamb and Potato Festival site.

All were waiting with bated breath for the unveiling of the Lamb and Potato sculpture.

Sydney sculptor Cliff Axelsen gave a speech about the anxious looks from passersby when he first started working with the masses of cement.

Northern Tablelands MP at the time, Ray Chappell unveiled the statue, in his words, “a symbol of our productivity.”

Legend has it, a local producer took a lamb to the sculptor as a model.

NOT A BAAD IDEA: The Guyra Big Lamb has overlooked the New England Highway for the past 30 years. The Poll Dorset was sculpted by Sydney artist Cliff Axelsen.

NOT A BAAD IDEA: The Guyra Big Lamb has overlooked the New England Highway for the past 30 years. The Poll Dorset was sculpted by Sydney artist Cliff Axelsen.

Guyra Historical Society secretary Dorothy Lockyer said the lamb was made on site.

“Over the years it’s been a huge economy boost to the town,” Ms Lockyer said.

“It would be thousands of dollars that it injects into the community, there’s the flow on effect of all the visitors that come to town – walk down the main street and buy a coffee or newspaper.

“It’s amazing when you drive past, the number of people in front of it taking photos.”

Before the Big Lamb went ahead, a model was placed in the window of R.J Simpson and Co. 

The community was given a choice between granite, sandstone or casted cement.

The cost of the lamb was estimated at $6000 and took around 12 weeks to complete.

In 1986, Royce Newbury and Frank Presnell from the Guyra Rotary Club and Joyce Sanders decided the major produce of Guyra should be celebrated with a week long festival.

The idea was to catch the music lovers on the highway, headed to the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Ms Lockyer was a founding member of the Lamb and Potato Festival Committee.

She said the Poll Dorset statue was erected to commemorate the contribution that prime lambs and potatoes have made to Guyra.

Potatoes produced in Guyra are primarily sent to Western Australia, the Atherton Tableland and in between.

This story Never sheepish, crowds flock as Big Lamb celebrates 30 years first appeared on The Armidale Express.

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