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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

‘Belco Owl’ to be relocated outside Legislative Assembly

Canberra Weekly can exclusively reveal plans to relocate the polarising yet undeniably iconic Belco Owl from its home on the corner of Belconnen Way and Benjamin Way to outside the Legislative Assembly.

The government wants to relocate the internationally regarded Belco Owl due to its evolution into a proud symbol of Canberra, of the ilk of Telstra Tower and Clem Cummings’ iconic concrete bus shelters, in the 10 years since the public artwork was “unsheathed”.

“Long regarded as a symbol of wisdom, we hope that by moving the beloved ‘Belco Owl’ to its new home outside the Legislative Assembly, the noble qualities of the nocturnal bird can be bestowed upon the ACT’s elected officials,” a government spokesperson told Canberra Weekly.

“Over the last decade, Owl has stood proudly in its Belconnen home, stoking the curiosity of the many people who pass it by daily,” the spokesperson said.

“We hope it can continue to endear itself to locals and visitors alike at its new home in Civic Square.”

It is expected Owl will be in its new home by 1 April 2022. The cost of relocation is yet to be announced.

Spokesperson for a local public art peak body, April Ful, criticised the decision, describing it as “yet another public art cock-up”.

“Who? Who decided this?” Ms Ful asked. “Whoever thought this was a wise idea needs to wise up,” she said.

Owl was commissioned in 2011 and made by Melbourne-based artist Bruce Armstrong.

Owl will switch places with the existing statue that adorns the Legislative Assembly entry, the iconic Tom Bass 1961 copper figure Ethos.

“The winged figure female figure of Ethos celebrates the civic pride of Canberra,” the government spokesperson said.

“The sculpture was conceived as representing the spirit of the community, and with Belconnen now in its 55th year and ‘Belco Pride’ stronger than ever, we feel such a move is fitting.”

UPDATE: April Fools!

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