A sculpture with strong connections to the Snowy Monaro region has been unveiled in Cooma's Centennial Park with the acclaimed piece crafted by one of the nation's most admired artists.
The Rix Wright sculpture, The Shearer, has returned home with an official ceremony held on Tuesday to mark the occasion.
The Shearer holds a special place in the Snowy Monaro's arts and culture landscape with the piece representing the region's strong agricultural and wool industries.
Remembered as one of Australia's most eminent sculptors, Rix Wright who lived in Delegate, created The Shearer when he was just 19 years old.
Rix's first wife Sandra von Sneiden was in attendance at the unveiling as were his second wife Jenny and children Bronwyn and Bruno.
"The sculpture is much loved here in the region and more broadly across the country. It's wonderful to have The Shearer on display, it's a fantastic representation of life on the Monaro," SMRC tourism manager Donna Smith said.
"This sculpture is the predecessor to another 'Shearer' sculpture displayed in Bombala and the 'Wild Horses' sculpture displayed in Delegate.
"The placement of the sculpture in Cooma creates a true Rix Wright art trail across the Snowy Monaro."
The Shearer's unveiling is the culmination of many years of hard work from the community who helped fund its purchase. More than 40 families and businesses contributed to the purchase of the sculpture.
A plaque embedded in the rock plinth acknowledges the generosity of all those who contributed to the purchase.
"There are many people who have contributed to this project, in particular former Cooma-Monaro Shire councillor Craig Mitchell who coordinated the donations, Bronwyn Wright who provided guidance for the sculpture's placement, and previous owners of the sculpture Jim and Libby Litchfield," Ms Smith said.
SMRC, through its current arts and culture advisory committee and the former Cooma-Monaro arts and culture committee, partnered with the community to place the sculpture in Centennial Park.
The Shearer sits atop of a basalt rock plinth, made by stonemason Mark Clarke. Its design complements the existing rock walks in the adjacent roundabouts and represents the Monaro region that Rix Wright called home.