Are you a fan of the old bucket and spade and always wanted to build your own sand castle? Well here’s your chance.
Rye, on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, is the home of sand sculpting in Australia. The event attracts international and local master sand sculptors and this year there will be two displays, one at Rye Beach, the other at Melbourne's Moomba Waterfest at Birrarung Marr.
Two thousand tonnes of sand has been used at Rye Beach to create characters and scenes from new and classic Disney films including the new-release The Haunted Mansion, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, Winnie the Pooh and The Pirates of the Caribbean.
The second Australian Sand Sculpting Championship was held over the weekend of February 21-22 this year. The winner, Jino van Bruinessen from Sydney, will be representing Australia at the World Championships at Harrison Hot Springs in Canada in September this year.
The Melbourne exhibition is made up of 1500 tonnes of sand and includes a Disney water theme display. It runs over the Moomba weekend and continues until March 21. The Rye exhibition will run until April 18.
As well as the sculpture exhibition, there is a range of activities for the family such as screenings of Disney films, live entertainment, competitions and themed dress-up parties for the children.
A How To video presentation shows the experts creating their masterpieces and answers all the questions you want answered about how to build a sand sculpture.
The end results speak for themselves. So much work goes into making a good sandcastle. Patience and endurance are very important assets for the sculptor to have. Their works of art can take up to two months to complete and might reach 10 metres in height.
Tonnes of sand and many litres of water are pounded into formwork frames, and as the sand is compacted, it stabilises as it dries similar to the method nature uses to make sandstone. Nothing but water is added the hard, layer by layer compaction is the secret.
Once the desired height is reached, out comes an array of tools for the carving. The workman's toolkit might have cake decorating knives and dental equipment to achieve the exquisite detail.
Formwork is removed as each stage is completed and if the sculpture is housed in a protected area, it can last for years.
Vision Australia has two school programs giving students not only the opportunity of learning how to carve, but to experience how vision impaired people find the world around them. All funds raised go to Vision Australia.
Rye and Melbourne in Victoria
Sand Sculpting Australia costs $8 for adults, $4 for children between 4-15 years, while children under four years are admitted free. Seniors card discount on weekdays: $5.50. Group rates are available for 10 or more.
Melbourne Moomba Waterfest at Birrarung Marr from March 5 to 21, 2004.
Rye Foreshore, Morningto Peninsula from February 11 to April 18, 2004.
Sand Sculpting Australia
Ph: 1800 250 800
Peninsula Visitors' Centre
Ph: 1800 804 009www.sandsculpting.com.au
Qantas: 13 13 13