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The Wandering


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International artist, Chris Drury, is the creator of The Wandering – a 190 metre long rock formation, which uses 460 tonnes of Toodyay and Donnybrook stone.

Inspired by the flow of the Swan River and its location in Stadium Park, in the northern section of Stadium Park in proximity to the Windan Bridge and the Northern Oval, Drury created this piece to be living art with Indigenous drought-resistant plants incorporated into the design, binding the structure together.

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English land artist Chris Drury in the whirlpool, which is part of his work The Wandering at the new Perth Stadium. PICTURE: NIC ELLIS THE WEST AUSTRALIAN

English land artist Chris Drury in the whirlpool, which is part of his work The Wandering at the new Perth Stadium. PICTURE: NIC ELLIS THE WEST AUSTRALIAN

A snaking wall that plunges into a whirlpool of stones is the first major outdoor artwork at the $1.4 billion Perth Stadium.

British land-artist Chris Drury and two stone masons took three weeks to build the 190m-long The Wandering from 460 tonnes of Toodyay and Donnybrook stone under the $2 million Percent for Art Scheme for the Burswood stadium and sport precinct.

Drury has created large land-art formations using rocks, soil, wood and other natural materials throughout Britain, continental Europe, the US, Japan and Australia. He also has carved massive images into the snow and ice fields of Antarctica.

The Wandering was inspired by Cornish dry-stone hedges and appears to dip in and out of the ground between the river and the lake it feeds next to stadium before sinking into a vortex of angled stone slabs.

Drury said its winding form mirrored the serpentine flow of the river and referenced the Wadjuk Noongar people’s Wagyl ancestral spirit creator of the Derbal Yaragan or Swan River.

“The Swan River was once a prehistoric serpentine canyon, and you can see the scale of it from Google Earth, where the ancient canyon is clearly visible beneath the sea,” he said.

“The power of this image and its connection to the Wagyl is tangible. My role as an artist is to connect nature and cultures – here I can only just touch on what I perceive to be something very deep and beyond my comprehension. I don’t want to appropriate this powerful story, only to make a connection to it.”

The Wandering should last 1000 years, as such dry stone walls had done in Europe, because the earth infill allowed plants to grow and bind the structure together, Drury said.

“Here in Perth, I am adapting the work to the WA climate and planting the wall with indigenous drought-resistant plants.”

Lizards had already taken up residence in the wall’s cracks, he said.

Drury, who also makes gallery installations and small works on paper, said the scale of The Wandering had been determined by its location between the stadium and the river. “The place makes the decision for you,” he said.

Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies said The Wandering was designed to give visitors to the stadium precinct them a unique space to explore and spend time in.

Although Drury was from the UK, the work was distinctly Western Australian because it was made up of local stone from Toodyay and Donnybrook, Ms Davies said.

“The sports precinct will be accessible for locals and visitors 365 days a year and I have no doubt the various artwork installations around the sports precinct will attract significant interest and add to the vibrancy of what will be a world-class stadium.”

Selected from an international field of submissions through art consultants FORM, Drury’s work is one of three public art pieces to be installed outside the 60,000-seat stadium, which is due to open in 2018.

A stadium artwork selection panel, led by Art Gallery of WA director Stefano Carboni and State Government Architect Geoff Warn, is considering 60 applications for the final two artworks for the pedestrian underpass to the train station and the eastern entrance of the precinct.


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