Totem poles outside Kolora are Brian Irving's "way of giving back" to Guyra

ARTIST: Brian Irving clasps one of his totem poles outside Kolora. Picture: Nicholas Fuller
ARTIST: Brian Irving clasps one of his totem poles outside Kolora. Picture: Nicholas Fuller

Four colourful Aboriginal totem poles were unveiled outside McLean Care Kolora on Wednesday morning - a thank you gesture from artist Brian Irving.

The 'welcome to country' totems commemorate his grandfather, the Kamilaroi people, and the community of Guyra.

Mr Irving knows many of the old people who live in Kolora; the businesses in the main street gave his mother credit when they were growing up, and helped him when he entered the workforce.

"This is my way of giving back," he said. "It's something that's going to be here for eternity, really. It's going to be a part of the community."


Mr Irving has lived in Guyra since he was four. "Our little town is the one place that I want to live," he said. "I'm happy here. I couldn't live anywhere else."

It took Mr Irving a fortnight to make the totem poles. The PVA pipes were donated by Guyra plumbers Ray & Kristy Hammond.

Registered nurse Lakhwinder Kaur thanked Mr Irving for the donations on behalf of Kolora residents, family members, and staff.

"These are really very good gestures, beautiful gestures, and representation of the culture."

Mayor Simon Murray thanked Mr Irving for the work that he put into the poles.

"It's very fitting that Brian, who has been in Guyra for so long, has dedicated these back to the community. It's very touching for all the community to come see this."

The totem poles are open for anyone to visit at any time, Cr Murray said. If the mayor doesn't succumb to temptation.

"My wife and I have got some of [Brian Irving's] paintings. So I think I could nearly get an angle grinder and take off these sometime, and take them home!" he joked.

Mr Irving's next project is a pair of elephants fighting - a painting for the Guyra Art Exhibition at the GALA Centre, Bradley Street.

The exhibition, hosted by the CWA Guyra Evening Branch, is part of the Lamb and Potato Festival. It opens on Friday, and runs until Monday, January 27.

Dot Lockyer organised the unveiling of the totem poles.