GODDESS: The Persephone statue with her creator, local artist Adriaan Vanderlugt.
GODDESS: The Persephone statue with her creator, local artist Adriaan Vanderlugt.

Where will Persephone end up?

A BEAUTIFUL statue is causing a stir in Proserpine.

The statue of Persephone has sat serenely outside the Proserpine Entertainment Centre for the past 15 years but her future became unclear when the decision was made, last year, to demolish the centre.

She was originally placed there by the Rotary Club of Proserpine, to mark 50 years of being active in the town, and the statue was officially launched on October 21, 2005.

According to Greek mythology, Persephone is the goddess of spring, fertility and the seasons. The Latin version of the name is Proserpina or Proserpine, which is where the town gets its name from, reflecting its rich, agricultural gifts.

The much loved statue was crafted by well known local artist Adriaan Vanderlugt.

Proserpine businesswoman Joanne Linneweber was the Rotary president at the time and was instrumental in the statue's creation.

"The club commissioned Adriaan Vanderlugt and he made the top part of Persephone - the stone part - and Focus on Water made the bottom part - the rocks and plumbing.

"It was originally meant to be a water feature - Persephone is holding a water bag and water is supposed to flow down through the rocks - but the pond has since been filled up with rocks."

The life-size Persephone statue is made from locally sourced limestone.

"I wanted to use local stone," sculptor Adriaan Vanderlugt, who works from his home studio, in Strathdickie, said.

"I started with a large lump of limestone and carved her out with grinders and chisels and then sanded her to make her smooth. I also like to leave some of the original stone in the sculpture.

"Because she is the goddess of agriculture, I wanted to tie it in with cane farming, so I gave her a water bag. Cane farmers used to carry them.

"I would have loved to have a model but I didn't, so I made her up. I did a lot of research and looked at old Greek statues, so I'd get things like the clothing right."

The question on everyone's lips is, where will Persephone end up?

Whitsunday Regional Council has said that decision will be made in consultation with Mr Vanderlugt and the Rotary Club of Proserpine.

Director of community services Julie Wright said council had been communicating with the artist and had saved the actual statue. However, the rock base will not be saved when the Proserpine Entertainment Centre is demolished.

"The rock base and fountain is unable to be preserved, as it was basically rocks concreted together, so if was deemed too difficult to lift it up and relocate," she said.

"In consultation with the artist, the statue will be placed in secure storage until such time that council, with the endorsement of the artist and Proserpine Rotary, finds a suitable location for the reinstatement of the statue.

"The statue artist has given his approval to this course of action and Proserpine Rotary have been informed regarding the rock base and fountain.

"The loose boulders and fountain cemented together as the base will be removed as part of the demolition process."

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