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From scrap to raptor: How Steve gave Yeppoon its own Jurassic spark

Culture

Steve Ross took up metal sculpture as a hobby in 2018 and immediately started to think big. Now he has put the finishing touches on his Jurassic family at Yeppoon.

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House builder and building inspector Steve Ross took up metal sculpture as a hobby in 2018 and immediately started to think big.

Now, almost two years on he has put the finishing touches to his Jurassic family outside the Yeppoon landfill — with the addition of three juvenile Australovenator dinosaurs.

Livingstone Shire Council commissioned the sculptures as part of the town’s placemaking program, designed to add character to the region.

Using a crane, Ross unveiled the 600kg mother dinosaur in August 2019.

A growing family

Now he has added three new 150kg dinosaurs using parts from the landfill and pieces from friends and family.

“It’s mostly automotive parts, there’s the odd gym weight in there, tractor parts, earth moving parts, machinery parts – it’s everything I can get my hands on,” he said.

“They’re a one-off thing that’s what I like about it.

“You’re making something out of nothing, but it will last a lifetime.”

Working around his day job, Ross spent more than 400 hours and about six months building the juveniles.

He said the hard work, stress and mess was made worthwhile by the community’s positive reaction.

“I feel great, I really do, words can’t describe it, I just love it,” he said.

“I went out there to do some final touches and a couple of older ladies parked up and said, ‘awesome work’.

“Parents love taking the kids out to have a look at them on their way and the response has been good.”

Why dinosaurs?

The council gave Ross free range to build anything, and seagulls were the first suggestion.

“It just works out that the kids love dinosaurs, they don’t like looking at seagulls for too long,” he said.

Ross is giving the welding machine a couple of weeks to cool off before moving onto his next project.

“I had a nice looking shed at one stage, everything was spick and span, now it’s just full of steel offcuts and parts … it’s getting a bit out of control,” he said.

“But it’s just your typical man cave with a welder in there.”

As for the prospect of more prehistoric animals, Ross said he was keen to try something new.

“I’ve already started building a big grouper fish here at home,” he said.

“I’ve exhausted myself with doing dinosaurs, so I just wanted to do something different for myself.”

– ABC / Erin Semmler

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