Lennie’s statue to be revealed
LEONGATHA is counting down the days until the Lennie Gwyther statue unveiling.
The Lennie Gwyther statue committee has been working hard in the lead up to the big day to be held this Saturday, October 14.
The committee is excited to announce the official statue opening/unveiling will be held at Centenary Park in Anderson Street Leongatha at 2pm.
Lennie Gwyther rode his pony, Ginger Mick, from Leongatha to Sydney in 1932 to witness the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Lennie was just nine years old at the time and travelled more than 1000 kilometres through bushland, over mountains and past the coast.
To commemorate Lennie and Ginger Mick and to celebrate their journey, the Leongatha community is erecting a statue of them in the heart of Leongatha.
Former South Gippsland Shire Council mayor Bob Newton came up with the idea around three years ago and is delighted with the result.
“It’s been fantastic. We’ve really got it and it’s great,” he said.
“The local people have been very supportive. I believe there will be around 500 people at the unveiling.
“I’m just happy it’s happened and it’s going ahead.
“I’d like to thank the committee for its support right through this.”
Author of the novel Lennie’s Ride, Mary Small, and author of the novel Lennie the Legend, Stephanie Owen Reeder, will both attend on the day for special book signings.
McMillan MP Russell Broadbent, South Gippsland Shire Council mayor Ray Argento and councillors, Leongatha Chamber of Commerce and Industry members, Leongatha Rotary Club members, the Lennie Gwyther committee, and Lennie’s relatives will be there to celebrate the official unveiling.
“We’ve had fantastic support from members of the community and local businesses,” member of the Lennie Gwyther committee Peter Watchorn said.
“We’re expecting a great day with big crowds and the whole town should get behind it.”
The committee needed around $50,000 to make the statue and plaque, and was granted $10,000 by South Gippsland Shire Council and Mr Broadbent gave $11,000.
Community members and local businesses donated the rest.
Poet Billy O’Neill will read a poem he wrote about Lennie Gwyther at the opening.
Mr Watchorn said Village Roadshow has shown interest in the Lennie Gwyther books and a movie may be made of the adventure.
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