Umbrella on the Move!

The Don Street Umbrella – Our People – Time and Place will be carefully uplifted from Don Street next week.

Invercargill City Council Roading Manager Russell Pearson said the umbrella needs to be moved to allow the City Streets Upgrade in Don Street to begin.

“To make sure work can proceed as smoothly as possible, and without risking any damage to the sculpture, we need to lift the bricks beneath, the umbrella itself, and the interpretation panels on either side,” Mr Pearson said.

The artwork by local sculptor and former Southland Museum Director Russell Beck was installed on the summer solstice in 2000. The bricks feature the surnames of all those living in the city at the time. The umbrella itself is a sundial, while its canopy features the stars which are visible in our night sky.

“In its current urban environment, it’s actually quite difficult for people to enjoy it as a sundial, or to look up through its canopy at night,” Mr Pearson said.

When planning for the streets upgrade work, Council staff agreed a more suitable position, which will be within the City’s parks, would be found for the sculpture.

Parks and Recreation Manager Caroline Rain said while a final location for the umbrella had not yet been chosen, Council staff were working closely with Mr Beck’s family to understand where they would like to see it located, and make sure it is re-installed appropriately.

“The family is supportive and understands the need to move the sculpture. While we work through the logistics of its location and how to place it in such a way that it can be used and enjoyed to its full potential, the umbrella will be held in storage,” Mrs Rain said.

City Streets Upgrade contractor Downer will be lifting the bricks on Tuesday next week, while a large truck would be brought in during the early hours of the morning to remove the umbrella.

“Downer has planned these works to reduce disruption. While Don Street will need to be closed to allow the truck access for the removal of the umbrella itself, they will be doing this outside of usual business hours,” Mr Pearson said.

Find out more about the City Streets Upgrade here.