RUGBY League legend Ricky Stuart yesterday (May 8) joined Illawarra mural artist Claire Foxton and Queanbeyan identity Dimitri Hantas to unveil a giant portrait of himself painted on the side of the Queanbeyan Bicentennial centre.
Visible from Blacksmiths Lane, the portrait drew admiration from a crowd of onlookers, including the Mayor of Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, Tim Overall.
Before the ribbon was cut, program coordinator Tracy Lamont explained that the project, “What’s your story?” had been achieved through a grant from the Australian Government’s building better region’s fund and was seen by council as a kick starter for the CBD transformation outlined in the soon-to-be released-Queanbeyan CBD spatial master plan. Already, she said, there was new signage and festooned lighting in one of the city’s lane ways.
She explained that in an effort to maximise opportunities around the mural project, two creative mentors had led workshops with two groups of art students from both Karabar and Queanbeyan High Schools during April in an empty space in Blacksmiths Lane.
Hantas nominated the Queanbeyan-born Stewart to become “the face of Queanbeyan”, in part because he had been born in January 1967, the same year that Hantas’ father had decided to migrate from Greece and make Queanbeyan home. He praised not only Stuart’s ongoing connection to Queanbeyan but his commitment to sport and charity.
As for the very chuffed Ricky Stuart, he declared the mural to be “an amazing outcome, a privilege to be chosen”. He also told those present that he had been speaking to local member and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro about getting behind new living facilities for people with disabilities.
The Ricky Stewart mural can be viewed from 68 Monaro Street, behind The Q.