Australian Sundial

The Australian Sundial was commissioned by Australia as a gift for Spokane after the world fair in 1974. Sister Paula Mary Turnbull was asked to build the sundial, and it was completed in 1976. She designed the 7 foot high, hollow steel dial with Australia in mind, braze bronzing native animals and flowers onto the main column of the statue. Included on the dial are kangaroos, koala bears, an emu, a grass owl, a squirrel glider, a ring-tail possum, a parrot, wattle, banksia, roses, and eucalyptus.

The sundial is not completely accurate for telling time year round, but Sister Paula did spend a lot of time recording the sun's movement to make it as accurate as she could for the spring and summer months. The size of the numbers in the dial is in direct correlation with the sun's movement between the equinoxes and the summer solstice. The statue stands where the Australian pavilion stood during the world fair. Sister Paula also sculpted the garbage eating goat at Riverfront Park, and many other public artworks in the Spokane area.

The 1974 world fair in Spokane was the first with an environmental theme. The City of Spokane Arts Commission, Parks & Rec Department, Public Facilities District, the Public Library, and many more community groups all helped fund and develop Riverfront Park, the main site of the fair. The park has many paved pathways through it, with sculptures scattered throughout. The Spokane Sculpture Walk is centered around this park.

Images

Installation of the Australian Sundial, ca 1976.

Installation of the Australian Sundial, ca 1976.

Image from the personal library of Sister Paula Turnbull. View File Details Page

Sister Paula Turnbull

Sister Paula Turnbull

Image from the personal collection of Allie Todd. View File Details Page

Sketches of animals and plants on the sundial.

Sketches of animals and plants on the sundial.

Image from the personal collection of Allie Todd. View File Details Page

Newspaper clipping from the Spokesman Review, circa 1976.

Newspaper clipping from the Spokesman Review, circa 1976.

Image from the personal collection of Allie Todd. View File Details Page

Installation of the Australian Sundial, ca 1976.

Installation of the Australian Sundial, ca 1976.

Image from the personal library of Sister Paula Turnbull. View File Details Page

Newspaper clipping from the Spokesman Review, circa 1976.

Newspaper clipping from the Spokesman Review, circa 1976.

Image from the personal library of Allie Todd. View File Details Page

Audio

Legacy of a Fair

Sister Paula Turnbull Interview View File Details Page

Hard as Metal

Sister Paula Turnbull Interview View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Allie Todd, “Australian Sundial,” Spokane Historical, accessed July 28, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/180.
comments powered by Disqus

Share this Story