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Whale Tail

Jason Wooldridge & Cindy Poole, both with a desire to extend their arts practices into the realm of Public Art, responded to a national tender in June 2013 for the Esperance Foreshore Development Public Artwork.

Their shared artistic vision and complementary artistic, design and technical skills helped them win the tender and work on the Esperance Whale Tail began.


The artwork featured the artist’s knowledge and expertise in the mediums of steel, wood and glass.

A sculpture of a whale tail is not an entirely new idea but what was created here as the centrepiece of a multi-million dollar project to beautify the Esperance foreshore is a beautiful set of linear shapes, which says as much about the negative space as it says about the structure itself.


The Southern Right Whales seen in Esperance throughout the winter often come close to shore to rest. Their behaviour is often much more reserved than that of the extrovert Humpback, viewers just catching glimpses of fins and tails.


When a tail is seen, it is usually just a very graceful and mellow rise and sinking of the fluke. It is this that has been an inspiration for this sculpture. The Whale Tail is symbolic of the ocean’s importance to this area.
It also references the port and history of the Jetty in the materials and the processes used.


Rather than ignore the industrial nature of the port, the artists chose to embrace it and create something of beauty from industrial steel and they used universal beams to this end.


The design uses jarrah in its central element which makes reference to the timber hulled ships that would have served the jetty and also the jetty itself. The form allows a constantly changing picture window within the negative space.


The glass provides another dimension of beauty to the artwork; capturing the qualities of the sun and the constantly changing light to give the sculpture ‘life’, and allows the form to cast light on the ground and provide other windows to view.


The glass reflects the colours of Esperance, which mirror the ocean and the sky. Each panel is a ‘skyscape’ which reference the colours witnessed when looking south to the sky for the magical Esperance sunsets, and all the subtle colours that brings.


The central glass section between the wooden panels are laminated in the many colours of the aqua blues and turquoise of the ocean in this region.


The shape of the tail itself may also suggest other things to viewers such as the bow of a ship. This double connection may also be made when focusing on the tapered jarrah central element which references the baleen plates of the whale and the hull of some of the ships that formed Esperance’s early shipping history.
Right Whales travel vast distances in their migration journey which is echoed by the similar ocean crossing patterns of the bulk carriers transporting our exports far and wide.

The Whale Tail is an iconic artwork which is on the foreshore very close to the Hospitality Esperance Motel.   

You wont need a map as you can see the Whale Tale from the front door of the Motel!

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