Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


The master of bronze

Story Sue Neales
Photos John Elliott

ImageThe gravel floor of the open-sided shed is strewn with molten wax and parts of small bronze figurines.

There's the rounded rump of a Santa Gertrudis bull, the size of a small dog, sheltering beside a rusting 44-gallon drum. Alongside, jousting spears aloft, a dozen knee-high knights in armour look ready to wage war on the beaten-up station wagon parked in the long grass outside.

But even the squawking brown chooks underfoot can't dampen the pride of acclaimed sculptor, Eddie Hackman, 70, as he shows us around his bush foundry and home in rural Queensland.

In the midst of these heavy forges and furnaces - and the tangle of chickens, tools, chunks of clay, molten wax and metal - is where Eddie moulds and casts the intricate bronze statues championing the pioneering spirit of the outback that have made him famous around the world.

This is no minimalist painter's studio; nor does it look like the comfortable pad of an accomplished artist who can command six-figure fees for his large public bronze statues. It feels more like the home of a bushie, someone used to living in the open all his life.

ImageWhich is no surprise really, since Eddie Hackman spent nearly 30 years roaming the vast cattle stations of the Northern Territory and Queensland in the "open-grazing" era before fences changed practices immeasurably.

After arriving in Adelaide as a fresh-faced Scottish lad in 1953, Eddie worked first for the Kidman family on Eringa Station in South Australia's far north before becoming a stockman, drover and station manager across northern Australia.

He has shifted mobs of cattle across the Barkly Tablelands, worked stock camps of the central desert stations of Andado, Finke and New Crown, mixed with some of Australia's most legendary stockmen, and enjoyed a drink in almost every outback pub. Story end

Full story: Issue 23, June / July 2002

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