Father's Day at Piccoli's Star Spanner Sculture Gardens

Published on 12 August 2016

A cluttered farm workshop turned art studio is at the heart of one of the Loddon Valley’s most remarkable tourist attractions.

John and Sonia Piccoli’s home gardens at Barraport, near Boort, provide the backdrop to John’s ever-growing display of metal sculptures, all crafted from spanners.

The couple welcome visitors all year round, but a special invitation has been issued for Father’s Day, 4 September, when the property will host the launch of the 2016 “Naturally Loddon” Spring Festival.

The festival comprises 10 family-friendly events spread across eight weeks.

This year’s program also includes the ever-popular Kooyoora Wildflower Show, family weekends at Terrick Terrick National Park and Tarnagulla, a fishing competition, wetlands tour, vintage machinery rally, two local festivals and Boort’s annual metal sculpture competition.

The Piccoli’s gardens will be open from 11am to 4pm, with a barbecue operating, afternoon tea and refreshments available all day, a jumping castle and face painting.

John contracted polio when he was eight and spent the next three years in hospital. When his father died, John, at 18, took up the reins and ran the family farm from his wheelchair with the help of his mother.

He began making his spanner sculptures in 2000, when the farm was leased out.

Visitors to the property enter via one of two avenues lined with 85 pieces of vintage farm machinery to stroll through two acres of manicured gardens.
“During this latest financial year, we increased our visitor numbers to 7250,” John said.

“We have about 40 sculptures on display, ranging from fruit bowls and table centrepieces to the biggest – a full-size wagon with Clydesdale.

“I reckon I’ve used close to 100,000 spanners by now, with another 20,000 waiting.”

Entry costs $5 for adults, with under 16s free. All proceeds will be donated to the pool of prizemoney for this year’s Boort Show metal sculpture competition.

To obtain a festival brochure, phone the Loddon Visitor Information Centre on 5494 1257 or visit www.loddon.vic.gov.au


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