Victoria State, Melbourne, Australia
The Travellers is a permanent kinetic public art installation commissioned by the City of Melbourne and the Victoria State Government, on the occasion of the Commonwealth Games. It revives an industrial rail bridge with large-scale sculptures that cross the bridge on rails, three times daily, recalling the history of immigrants to the city.
Each of the nine travelling sculptures represents a phase of the city’s history, retracing the waves of migration and how they shaped Melbourne’s identity. The tenth sculpture, Gayip, named for the gathering of all the different Aboriginal communities, is positioned high on a rock on the riverbank, observing the trajectory of The Travellers as they cross the Yarra River.
As an entity, they function like an urban clock, participating in the daily rhythms of the city. The nine-metre-high sculptures journey across the bridge every morning, noon and evening and remain still for an hour before returning. Glass information panels tell pedestrians the history of the immigrants, represented by the sculptures, who crossed the bridge on a train from the port of Melbourne to the Flinders central station for more than a century. The only immobile sculpture, Gayip, embodies those who already belonged to the land.