Upper Hunter Country

Upper Hunter Country
Friday, 18 August 2017 11:08

Celebrating 35 years of Scone's iconic 'Mare and Foal' statue at the 'Happy Horses' Birthday' Markets

The 'Mare and Foal' statue in Elizabeth Park, Scone The 'Mare and Foal' statue in Elizabeth Park, Scone Shay Hancock

This year marks the 35th year since Elizabeth Park’s iconic Mare and Foal statue was unveiled and the occasion was fittingly celebrated at the August Scone Country Markets with the theme the ‘Horses’ Birthday’.

The statue was unveiled on 3 March, 1982 by the Hon Eric Bedford and cost about $75,000, commissioned by local horse breeders to ‘promote Scone as the leading horse breeding centre in Australia’ as a ‘wonderful tourist attraction to give pleasure to the many people who see it’.

Gabriël Sterk, the Dutch born artist who created the sculpture in his foundry in Adelaide, was contacted by Upper Hunter Shire Council’s Tourism and Events Coordinator, Jan Sinclair.

Gabriël now lives and works in France’s Aix-en-Provence and in his reply email wrote “During 1980, the horse breeders of the Upper Hunter Valley approached the Macquarie Galleries in Sydney with the hope to find an equestrian artwork to promote the Upper Hunter Valley region. Mr David Archibald learned about my work and my equestrian work appealed to him. He asked me if I could do a life size mare and foal for Scone.

“I accepted the commission by phone. It took me a year to finish the statue in plaster, but the contract hadn’t been signed. When the horse breeders learned the statue was interesting other people, they took a little private plane to Adelaide and when they saw the statue finished in plaster they did not take long to decide to sign the purchase contract. Scone nearly missed out!” Gabriël said.

Gabriël’s reply email arrived on the eve of the Horses’ Birthday markets.

“I was so thrilled to hear back from Gabriël and his story on the commission of our wonderful sculpture,” Jan Sinclair said. “Tourists love the sculpture and often ask for more information about its origins and creator so it’s great to know first-hand how it all came about. Gabriël’s timing was perfect and tied in really well with our market day theme on Saturday.”

With spring already on the horizon and the current lovely warm weather, the September markets will have a ‘Spring into Spring’ theme. Markets are held the second Saturday of each month, Saturday 9 September will be the next market.

For more information or to apply for a stall contact the Scone VIC on 6540 1300 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and to find out more about Gabriël Sterk see

Wayne Bedggood


Read 573 times