place of the eels
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Parramatta Square
Darcy St &, Macquarie St, Parramatta NSW 2150
Free Event

Place of the Eels

Place of the Eels, an artwork created by Western Sydney artists Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, celebrates Parramatta’s historical and cultural vibrancy.

Claire and Sean are a collaborative creative duo that transforms and re-imagines the forms and systems that surround us. Their work is characterised by a playful assemblage of everyday objects into extraordinary sculptures and installations. Inspiration for the monumental sculpture was drawn from the story of the Parramatta Eels rugby league team using a bus for their team meetings after their stadium burnt down.

Narratives woven into the details of the work include an ode to ‘The Flying Pieman’ William Francis King, a memorialization of Rosie Bint Broheen, and the coded messages of love and support between girls at the Parramatta Industrial School for Girls.

The 8-metre-high sculpture was commissioned by the City of Parramatta and is situated in Parramatta Square. The artists worked with UAP | Urban Arts Projects to bring their vision to life. Drawing on the artists’ practice of using found objects and generic products, the artwork was scanned from a scale model of a 1960s bus, casting patterns were milled using a robotic arm, before being cast in aluminium, adding a mirror-polished finish and has been vertically positioned.

Bus Backed Premiership

The life-sized artwork is a replica of the 1960s Leyland Worldmaster bus used by the Parramatta Eels rugby league team to hold their meetings in during the 1980s.

The bus was purchased by the coach of the team, Jack Gibson, after Cumberland stadium was burnt down during an out-of-control party celebrating their 1981 premiership victory.

Despite the team losing their home ground for four seasons, the Parramatta Eels went on to win two more consecutive premierships.

The Flying Pieman

Place of the Eels celebrates the story of William Francis King, ‘The Flying Pieman’. He was said to sell pies to people embarking on the Ferry journey from Circular Quay, and would then run with his stand to Parramatta, and sell more pies to the now disembarking passengers.

Rosie Bint Broheen

In the late 1890s, Rosie Broheen migrated to Sydney after a three-month voyage from her village of Kfarsghab in Lebanon, leaving her husband and children behind in a country experiencing political turmoil. 

When she reached Australia a custom's officer interpreted her name: Rosie Bint Broheen which means “daughter of the Abraham family” into Rosie O’Brien. She was granted a hawker’s licence and eventually became one of the first Lebanese women to purchase property in Parramatta in 1922.

Parramatta Industrial School for Girls

The artwork references coded messages of love and support passed between girls living at the Parramatta Industrial School for Girls, also known as the Parramatta Girls Home. The messages were etched into everyday items like combs, so the girls could communicate without fear of punishment.

Established in 1887, the school marks a sad chapter in Parramatta’s history. Unlike a regular school, children were committed to the institution on either a welfare complaint or criminal offence. Rules in the institution were rigid, punishments extreme, and abuse flourished. 

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Parramatta Square
Darcy St &, Macquarie St, Parramatta NSW 2150
Free Event