Bullocks provide fitting symbol of Killarney’s heritage
AN OVERWHELMING sense of pride was felt by a large number of Killarney residents as the unveiling of the bullocks and wagon took place in Willow St on Saturday morning.
Years of persistence and dedication paid off for the Killarney and District Historical Society, especially for president Tony Pearson as the dedication to the Bullocky Pioneers of Killarney was revealed.
When Mr Pearson became president three years ago the first thing he did was apply to the RADF for funding for the bullocks, to complete the project which began with the restoration of the wagon many years before. As soon as the funding came through, local sculptor Paul Stumkat was commissioned to complete the project.
The stunning bullocks are made from fiberglass with stainless steel rods in the horns, legs and ears, and the legs are full of concrete for strength and stability.
To enhance the life-like presence of the bullocks, the taxidermied eyes are from the United States.
Mr Pearson said although the project cost $10,500, he is sure the bullocks will stand the test of time and be in place for many years to preserve the important part of Killarney and the district's history.
"We dedicated the exhibit to the Bullocky Pioneers of Killarney in the hope that people would respect this monument and not vandalise it in any way," he said.
"Just to be sure, we do have security measures in place and if anyone happens to get closer than five feet to the bullocks during the night they may find they will end up extremely wet."
The original vision was to have a team of six bullocks in the exhibit, which will be one of the next projects the society will embark on.
Mr Pearson also encouraged everyone to view the half-hour video on YouTube called the Killarney Heritage Centre Log Trip to watch the full process of the restoration.
The Reis family couldn't have been prouder at the ceremony as the late Eric Reis was honoured in relation to the dedication.
Mr Reis is well-known as one of the last bullockies in the area. The industry runs in the family's veins, as his father Bill Reis was also a proud bullocky.
Wife of the late Mr Reis, Lettie Reis, was happy to reminisce about the old days at the unveiling.
"He drove bullocks all his life, just like his father. He lived for it," she said.
"He would have been so proud of the dedication."
Mr Reis has left a legacy for future generations as he was part of the team which pulled a weight of 127 tonne at the Killarney Show in the '90s which earnt them a place in the Guinness Book of World Records and he was also recognised by the ABC as a rural legend.
The Killarney and District Historical Society was pleased with the turnout for the grand moment in local history and is now waiting to see if council can provide funding to purchase the current Killarney Real Estate building to become the new home of the Killarney Historical Society.