Standing over twelve metres tall and adorned with sparkling glass panels, the signature art piece will act as a gateway to the trail’s educational and historical journey.
The $590 000 trail includes a series of five large interpretive nodes in each of the local townships and 30 smaller interpretive placemarkers at points of interest throughout the area.
‘This project has been about a year in the making, driven by passionate local community members, so it is absolutely fantastic to see it all coming together,’ Cr Megan Daniels said.
‘The trail is all about enhancing the tourist experience with high quality things to see and do, encouraging people to stay a little longer and spend their valued dollars here in the Highlands.’
Locals and visitors would have already noticed the large supporting columns and beautiful stonework at the Anakie-Sapphire Rd intersection.
This forms the base for the spectacular sculpture from award-winning artists Milne and Stonehouse, which will be lifted into place on Thursday.
‘The architectural glass has actually been imprinted with images taken from real local stones, including the famous Tomahawk Tiger and Stonebridge Green,’ Cr Daniels said.
‘The whole concept was inspired by the sieving action of a hopeful fossicker, and was chosen through a rigorous and competitive selection process. It truly is an eye-catching feature and I’m sure it will soon become an iconic part of the Sapphire Gemfields experience.’
Installation of the artwork is expected to be completed by the end of July. This will coincide with the roll out of node structures in Anakie, the Willows Gemfields, Sapphire and Rubyvale.
‘The interpretive signs incorporate innovative, modern augmented reality technology with multi-media and solar-powered audio features,’ Cr Daniels said.
‘These interpretive signs tell the stories of the history, the characters, the capers and of course the fabulous gem stones of the Sapphire Gemfields.’
The interpretive trail will be officially opened at the 30th anniversary of Gemfest on Friday 11 August 2017.
The project is funded by the Central Highlands Regional Council and the Australian Government’s Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) Program, administered by the Queensland Government’s Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games.