River Peel landscaping complete

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The finishing touches have been put on Templestowe’s signature River Peel sculpture, as the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade picks up pace towards completion.

Crews recently wrapped up landscaping works at the home of Manningham’s most recognisable landmark, just south of the Yarra River.

A new garden, surrounding the sculpture which was created in 2001, includes mulch and similar plants to those which surrounded the sculpture in its original location.

New lights will be installed later this year on the ground around the River Peel, to shine a light on the unique and colourful public artwork so the gateway to Manningham can be experienced even once the sun goes down.

Measuring at more than four meters tall, the piece – created by artists Michael Bellemo and Catriona Macleod - has long evoked the image of the Yarra River curves, as it bends and turns through the area, and an apple peel, paying homage to the history of orchards in the Doncaster and Templestowe areas.

For some 20 years the iconic River Peel had been a permanent fixture at the heart of the Fitzsimons Lane and Porter Street roundabout, until it was moved by Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) last year to prepare to convert the roundabout to traffic lights.

MRPV worked closely with River Peel artists Mr Bellemo and Ms Macleod, Manningham Council, Parks Victoria, Department of Transport and Planning (DTP), and Wurundjeri as the Registered Aboriginal Party in finalising the relocation site for River Peel in the middle of 2021.

The move ensures the sculpture continues to be a gateway piece to Manningham on Fitzsimons Lane. It also paved the way for construction crews to carry out general construction, culminating in major works this year to signalise the intersection at Porter Street and Fitzsimons Lane.

Congestion is already easing and travel reliability improved on Fitzsimons Lane at this vital Templestowe junction, after the Porter Street intersection was converted to traffic lights along the busy route.

The sculpture unveiling comes as Foote Street is re-opened at the Williamsons Road intersection after major construction which saw three months’ of work in 6 weeks this winter.

Major Road Projects Victoria