Plant & Equipment

Sculptors get creative with quarried sand

Sand quarries are usually known to supply the construction and glass industries, but for 11 years, Aidan J Graham Quarries has been providing “brickie’s loam” to Sandstorm Events for its annual Sand Sculpting Australia exhibitions.

Graham Quarries director Michelle Graham said the family-owned operation first became involved as an act of charity and community support, and had been supplying all the Victorian-based Sand Sculpting Australia events since the inaugural exhibition at Rye Beach on the Mornington Peninsula in 2000.

“Our contribution of sand – starting with 30 tonnes and steadily increasing each year until we supplied around 3500 tonnes in the fourth year – was an investment in the community who in turn donated proceeds from the event to Vision Australia,” Graham explained. “When Sand Sculpting Australia moved to Frankston [in 2008], they didn’t forget the earlier support which had been given so freely by our managing director at the time, Aidan Graham, and chose to continue the relationship commercially.”

The event continues to be held each year on the Frankston Waterfront, and the current Friends, Foes & Super Heroes-themed exhibition – which has been on display since 26 December 2014 – features sand sculptures of well-known characters such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Spider-Man, Darth Vader and various Disney princesses.

Quarry sand put to innovative use

The sculptures in the current exhibition used approximately 3500 tonnes of sand which was transported by more than 100 truck and dogs before being moved and manipulated around the site using a telescopic handler.

According to Sandstorm Events, the cubicity of quarried sand holds together better than its smoother, rounder beach counterpart and is thus more effective for sand sculpting. Each sculpture is also sprayed with a water-resistant coating for protection from unfavourable weather conditions.

Sandstorm Events spokeswoman Shelby Redmond explained that when the event ended on 26 April, approximately 80 per cent of the sand would be stored for reuse in subsequent events, while the other 20 per cent would likely be discarded as landfill and replaced with freshly quarried sand.

“The sand sculptors often prefer the ‘new’ sand as it helps with the movement and is easily carved and moulded,” Redmond explained. “We try and recycle as much sand as possible for sustainability and environmental purposes, however as the sand is constantly exposed to the sea breeze as well as our biodegradable protectant glues for the four months [of the event] it is sometimes not ‘clean’ enough to recycle and use the following year as sculpting sand.”

Sandstorm Events also holds sand sculpting events in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia and Redmond said the company always endeavoured to use local suppliers to source its sand.

Economic benefits for the region

Graham said the business relationship between Sandstorm Events and Graham Quarries had flourished over the years and noted that the event was also positive for the region, increasing tourism and business.

“Through the hard work of Sandstorm Events, sand sculpting in Frankston gains greater support year after year, with over 150,000 people visiting during its four-month run last year,” she said. “The exposure it gives our community and the income it generates for businesses in Frankston can’t be underestimated.”

While Graham acknowledged that it was unlikely patrons would appreciate the “incredibly creative and ‘outside the square’ use of quarry products” that the event entailed, she said the Graham Quarries team loved seeing their sand used in a way the community could enjoy. “We’re prouder than ever to be able to support such a positive, family-friendly event within our community.”

Aidan J Graham Quarries is a family-owned quarry that has been operating in Langwarrin, Victoria for more than 40 years. It supplies crushed rock, aggregates, brick sand, packing sand and topsoil to Melbourne, Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula.

The sand sculptures





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