June 2017 Canberra Times
Engineers Australia says it is on track to have a $2 million sculpture inspired by the cochlear implant in the ground at the National Arboretum Canberra by 2019. The year is significant as 2019 represents the centenary of Engineers Australia, the body representing engineers from all disciplines. The cost of the sculpture will be met by fundraising by Engineers Australia.
The design for the sculpture was decided in 2014 after a competition, with the winner, Queensland firm Bligh Tanner, inspired by the Australian-developed hearing device, the cochlear implant.
The design curls through the Freefall Pin Oak Forest at the arboretum, also known as the Engineers Forest. The pin oak is a popular street tree in Canberra, especially in the inner south. In 1926, the Institution of Engineers helped sponsor the plantings of trees around what is now known as Manuka Circle. The late Dr Robert Boden was responsible for developing the "Freefall" cultivar, which sheds its leaves on cue after autumn.
Rolfe Hartley, chairman of the steering committee behind the sculpture, said it was focused on final technicalities for erecting the sculpture, including works approval from the National Capital Authority, before fundraising would begin in earnest. "The fundraising is still very much in its early days," he said. Engineers Australia division manager Keely Quinn said fundraising would be through donations from members, corporate partners and the community.
The sculpture will be made from corten steel and have a rust-like exterior.
The design was also being finetuned, not in terms of how it looked, but more the logistics of building it, Mr Hartley said. "We didn't brief that we wanted a cochlear implant design but having chosen it, we think it's a really fantastic concept," he said. "The cochlear implant is an Australian engineering innovation that really transforms people's lives and showcases cutting-edge technology, which summarises what we want to say about Australian engineering."
Mr Hartley said the committee was "pretty comfortable" with meeting requirements for works approval and expected to have an application submitted to the NCA by October or November.