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1 November 2019 / leggypeggy

Sculpture in the middle of nowhere

Rust in peace, a make-believe bomb.

A make-believe bomb.

Metal sculpture

Too much dieting?

Our recent road trip in central Australia included some weird, wonderful and unexpected treats. I’ve already introduced you to the mysterious Marree Man. Now it’s time for the brilliantly weird and creative Mutonia Sculpture Park.

Created by Robin Cooke, this artistic oasis is an amazing collection of industrial junk turned into clever sculptures. The largest and tallest is of a dog. Its body is a derelict water tank, while the head and tongue are an old Chrysler. I didn’t have enough time to walk up and get a close-up of the dog, but you get the idea. Cooke wanted to call it Dottie the Dingo, but the locals have tagged it the Big Dog.

The Big Dog in the Australia outback

The Big Dog, made of a water tank and an old Chrysler

Old planes on their tails

Two old planes and our van in the background

Before turning to art, Cooke spent 20 years as a mechanic in Victoria. In 1997, he downed those tools and came to the desert in remote South Australia to create his first sculpture. Apparently he returns every year to add another masterpiece. I’ve read that the original work was a bit of an anti-mine protest by indigenous landowners.

Musical sculpture

Musical sculpture

Giant wildflower sculpture

Giant wildflower sculpture

Time Tree sculpture

Time Tree sculpture

The park is located on the Oodnadatta Track. It’s near Alberrie Creek—population 2—and about a two-hour drive west of Marree. Once upon a time, the area was a railway siding for The Ghan, the famous train that does a 54-hour run between Adelaide and Darwin. About 40 years ago, the railway was moved west to avoid floodplains.

Here’s an entertaining five-minute video about the park and Cooke. It’s from a TV episode done by the ABC’s Stateline program in South Australia.


Leave a Comment
  1. weezaj / Nov 1 2019 12:16 pm

    This is awesome Peggy!

    Louise Scrivener *Chinese Ducks Design* 0407 477 440

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Denise Rawling / Nov 1 2019 12:19 pm

    love the idea of Mutonia! fabulous. what at treat. thank you Peggy for more interesting sidelights.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Robert Parker / Nov 1 2019 1:14 pm

    I would really get a kick out of visiting this place. I love sculpture parks, and seeing what people can create with recycled parts and all the detritus of the industrial age.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Brian Lageose / Nov 1 2019 2:43 pm

    Okay, that’s it. You keep going to all these fascinating places, and it’s just time for me to simply move in with you so I can come along on your journeys. I’ll let you know when I land at the airport… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lynette d'Arty-Cross / Nov 1 2019 4:38 pm

    I would enjoy a visit. Such an interesting mind behind these sculptures.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Emma Cownie / Nov 1 2019 6:04 pm

    These are amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Forestwood / Nov 1 2019 6:51 pm

    What fun! And something to look at in the desert.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Eliza Ayres / Nov 1 2019 7:35 pm

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. fragglerocking / Nov 1 2019 9:04 pm

    Great stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Anna / Nov 1 2019 9:36 pm

    So Australia! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  11. derrickjknight / Nov 1 2019 9:37 pm

    A marvellous concept, somehow appropriate to such a barren landscape. I need the video to confirm that the dog’s head was actually a whole Chrysler.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ralietravels / Nov 1 2019 10:33 pm

    It was particularly interesting to hear how they raised the planes.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yeah, Another Blogger / Nov 1 2019 10:48 pm

    Great work by Cooke. He’s got a ton of imagination. Do you know if there’s anything like this in the American deserts?

    Neil S.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. beetleypete / Nov 1 2019 10:59 pm

    That’s a brilliant idea, Peggy. I like how they look so different when seen close up in the video.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Gail’s Snapshotsincursive / Nov 1 2019 11:21 pm

    Nice capture. 👁👁🍃

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Interesting! A bit quirky.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Sherry Thomas / Nov 2 2019 2:24 am

    Thanks for all your wonderful stories!

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sheryl / Nov 2 2019 1:49 pm

    What a fun sculpture garden! I love how industrial waste was turned into art. I think my favorites are the dog and the person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 2 2019 7:36 pm

      They are great choices Sheryl. I love that industrial waste gets used so creatively.


  19. Dave Ply / Nov 2 2019 1:53 pm

    Whimsey in Oz. Who’d have thought it?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. thewonderer86 / Nov 2 2019 7:16 pm


    Liked by 1 person

  21. chattykerry / Nov 3 2019 1:20 am

    That was eerie seeing the sculptures in the middle of nowhere. It gave me a Mad Max feel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 3 2019 10:24 am

      I’m not surprised about you sensing Mad Max. Scenes in the second and third films were set in outback Australia.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Brenda / Nov 3 2019 9:03 am

    Love these.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. kkessler833 / Nov 3 2019 11:16 am

    All I can say is wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Curt Mekemson / Nov 4 2019 10:09 am

    The creativity reminds me of Burning Man, Peggy. (On one of my first visits artists from the Bay Area had welded together two oil tankers.) –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  25. pvcann / Nov 5 2019 2:30 am

    I haven’t done that track, nice to see. I love the humour of the sculptors.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Cheryl Wright / Nov 6 2019 7:06 am

    I love the wildflower sculpture!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Sartenada / Nov 6 2019 6:55 pm

    These are awesome. I would love to visit there someday! Thank You.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. ortensia / Nov 10 2019 9:57 pm

    Amazing,thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  29. What a delightful find! Love the art and the backstory!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Phil Huston / Nov 15 2019 3:46 am

    I love this stuff. The Southwest is full of it. I used to drive the two-lanes of East and Central Texas and Lousiana, Oklahoma – I’d drive past houses and farms full of crazy welded art. It’s almost become suburban trendy. The airplanes reminded me of Cadillac Ranch and I was trying to get a visual artistic significance, crosses, religion, until I backed up… and they’re dancing! How crazy fabulous is that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 15 2019 7:47 am

      Brilliant detective work. The planes are dancing. Glad you mentioned Cadillac Ranch. I’ve always wanted to visit Carhenge in northwest Nebraska.


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