And then along came a spider

THEY grow ’em big out west at Urana.

Judging by this picture, Urana now rivals the mythical town of Speewah, which lies west of the sunset and where the dust storms are so thick you can walk over them and the trees so big, the tops are hinged to let the sun pass.

But there’s a less-mythical reason why the spiders are so big at Urana — sculptor Andrew Whitehead.

Mr Whitehead, a council plant worker aspiring to be a professional artist, lives on a small farm just out of town and has been making animals out of old farm junk for the past two years.

His work was featured in Country Mail last September and he has won awards at art competitions across the Riverina.

Most recently he has donated his giant spider, made out of tubings and other materials, to the Urana Council for its 150th birthday celebrations.

The spider commemorates when the Urana football club was known as the Spiders up to the mid-1980s and is across the road from the town’s other unique icon, the tractor on a pole, which was erected in 2007.

Urana Mayor Peter Routley said the council was thrilled with its new landmark.

“It’s created a great impression, it’s sort of an icon now,” Cr Routley said.

“It’s going to be a real landmark for the town and a great tribute to the old Spiders players.”

Beth, down at Urana Hotel, said the sculpture had been the talk of the town when it was raised several weeks ago.

“It’s really very, very good, isn’t it,” she said.

She said tourists through town had stopped to take photos.

Mr Whitehead, who is afraid of heights, installed the artwork himself, climbing a 16m ladder then walking around the 30cm rim of the tower carrying an 8kg bracket and 8m of cable.

“The process took me four climbs over three days to build the courage to position the bracket,” he said.

“There was predictable heckling from my mates.”

Once the bracket and cable were in place a cherry picker raised the spider into position and it was secured with the three cables.

While the public decides on a name for the work there has also been suggestions for enhancing it, including adding a red stripe along its back.

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