Spirit of Progress

Donnybrae’s unique and spectacular main entrance sculpture


Designed and created by sculptor David Wood, this 5.7 metre high steel
sculpture will adorn the main entrance boulevard to Donnybrae.

Spirit of Progress with steam locomotive S302 Edward Henty, Victorian Railways, Victoria, 1937, National Library of Australia

The namesake of this sculpture is taken from The Spirit of Progress, Australia’s first completely air-conditioned, streamlined, all-steel train. Constructed at the Railway Workshops, Newport, Victoria, and placed into service between Melbourne and Albury on 23 November, 1937.

Using the moving train as both genesis for design and a metaphor for progress, the sculpture links the Donnybrae vision with Australian cultural heritage.

Complementing the contemporary urban aesthetic of Donnybrook Road and Donnybrae, the work formally frames and complements the other contemporary artwork currently being designed for the development.

The large elegant form is intended to represent a connection between the old and the new, the past and the future, new thinking versus old and provide a catalyst for contemplation and signifier of Donnybrae’s identity.

Made of iron, the sculpture honours the importance of the Spirit of Progress to 20th Century Australia and the subsequent impact its development had on the region and our cultural history. Its surface will be forged metal and finished with rivets to reference the industrial materials used to construct the original Spirit of Progress train. Furthermore these materials will be applied in patch work fashion, to express the diversity of cultures that have, or will, call Donnybrae home.

Like the Spirit of Progress of the 1930’s, the sculpture will be a bold announcement that a great new era of living has arrived - and it’s located at Donnybrae.