On April 23rd, 2013 a report to the ordinary meeting of Eurobodalla Council advised councillors of a proposal presented by Mr Norman Moore for a sculptural work/ monument to recognise and commemorate the blacksmith James Gee and his forge on Vulcan Street. The proposed work is made by artist, Mr Bryan Carrick in collaboration with Mr Moore and had been requested to be located it in Russ Martin Park, Moruya. Council’s Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) considered the proposal and decided not to recommend that the proposal for the local history project not be accepted by Council. The PAAC said that they had considered the proposal in accordance with the requirements of the Public Art Policy and considered that the proposal did not meet the guidelines in relation to the diversity, location and maintenance requirements. "With respect to diversity, the proposed work does not contribute to diversifying the region’s collection. "Mr Carrick’s respected work is featured extensively in Moruya and in other locations throughout the Shire. It was considered that region had sufficient examples of his work within the collection. "With respect to location, the placement of the proposed sculptural work/monument in Russ Martin Park was not deemed appropriate by the PAAC. Concern was raised with the size of the work and its potential to clutter the public space. "With respect to maintenance, the PAAC was concerned with the expense to Council for long term maintenance and potential vandalism. "There would be costs related to the installation of the work and in its ongoing maintenance. There is no proposed cost to Council for the work itself. They concluded that the PAAC recognised the extraordinary level of commitment of Mr Moore and the artist towards the telling of Moruya’s history. The report to councillors said that "after much discussion and deliberation the PAAC agreed that the work does not support the guiding principles of the policy. It was considered that the proposed work is not suitable and did not contribute to a diverse collection of public art in Eurobodalla. The recommendation was that Council not accept Mr Moore’s proposed sculpture of James Gee. In February 2017 Norm Moore returned to the Council Chambers and let go a volley. (You can read Norm's presentation to Council here) Norm voiced his disappointment of the dismissive and ill informed heritage staff, the equally disinterested councillors on the heritage committee (at the time) and the total ignorance by Council as a whole of two considerable community petitions containing 600 and then a further 1000 signatures in support of the project. Today The Beagle met up with Norm to see where the James Gee project was up to and to hear his dreams of seeing Moruya embracing its history, far beyond the granite facade of the Sydney Harbour bridge, teaching its students about the early community of Moruya that achieved so much more.
Above: Norm Moore is passionate about the history of Moruya and is flummoxed with the disinterest shown by the Eurobodalla Council Heritage Committee to apply itself to even the simplest of measures to promote and showcase the history of the town.