Mali, a small green fibreglass elephant with a rare bird on its back, is now calling the gardens of Merindoc vineyard in Tooborac home.By Bronwyn Beyers
A small green elephant with a rare bird perched on its back is now calling the gardens of Merindoc vineyard in Tooborac its new home.
Mali was one of 50 fibreglass elephant sculptures painted by Australian artists for the Melbourne Zoo’s 150th anniversary celebrations this year.
After spending time on display around the city streets of Melbourne and afterwards at the Melbourne Zoo, all 50 elephants were put up for auction to help raise funds for the zoo’s conservation work.
One eager buyer was Lieutenant Governor of Victoria, Lady Southey AM, former wife of the late Ross Shelmerdine, better known to district residents as the founder of Shelmerdine’s Merindoc vineyard at Tooborac.
Merindoc Vintners marketing and cellar door manager Stephen Oates said Lady Southey was not able to attend the auction of the Mali sculpture collection and, due to the competition for the little elephants, almost missed out.
‘‘I think around 41 of them had gone and she still didn’t have one, but then she got the phone call letting her know she’d been successful,’’ Mr Oates said.
Relieved to have secured one of the sought after sculptures, Lady Southey was surprised to discover the Mali she had bought featured a special omen, Mr Oates said.
‘‘It had a Helmeted honeyeater on it, which is one of Victoria’s emblems, but also features on all the Shelmerdine wine labels,’’ he said.
‘‘The reason the Helmeted honeyeater is on our labels is because it is an endangered species and one of the few places it is found is on the Shelmerdine vineyard in the Yarra Valley.
‘‘Lady Southey was so excited and we couldn’t believe she was lucky enough to get a Mali that actually had the Shelmerdine’s Helmeted honeyeater on it.’’
Lady Southey welcomed the new addition to the Shelmerdine family at a special lunch in the gardens of Whistler Cafe at the Merindoc Vineyard on Monday with guests including Mali’s artist, Andrea Carydias.
‘‘Healesville Sanctuary actually has a breeding program for Helmeted honeyeaters and one of the things I wanted to do was highlight the affiliation between the Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary,’’ Ms Carydias said.
‘‘The real Mali at the zoo has such a high profile, so I thought this was a good opportunity to raise the profile of the Helmeted honeyeater.’’
Mali will now get a few more coats of marine varnish to protect her from the elements and may also be given a shade sail, once potential suppliers recover from the shock of being asked for a sail to protect an elephant in Tooborac.
District residents and visitors are welcome to visit Mali in the gardens of Whistler Cafe at the Merindoc Vineyard in Tooborac, which is open from 10am to 5pm seven days a week.
Police have released an image of a man they wish to speak to following an incident at SPC Ardmona in Shepparton, involving a package later found to be non-threatening.
Most people at the J C Lowe Oval left on Saturday evening talking about the game but not the result. Pigeon Coach Chris Kennedy summed up the feeling adequately when he said after the game; “it was a frustrating game, but my players weren’t responsible for the frustration.”
The move to extend the Tatura War Memorial area and honour Victoria Cross hero Robert Mactier with the erection of a statue in the Hogan St gardens named in his honour, continues.
A Kyabram man who struck a cyclist on Echuca-Moama bridge with a beer can thrown from the vehicle he was in was convicted and fined $400 in Moama Local Court on Wednesday.
A Rochester mother told a health forum about the devastating effect drugs have had on her family.
Over six hours of junior football is scheduled for Kyabram Recreation Reserve this Sunday.
Ten people were injured after Two Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) collided during a training course at the Puckapunyal Military Training Range in on Wednesday, May 22.
The Finley Apex Sports and Community Centre has secured a $500,000 grant from Regional Development Australia.
A purpose-built bike, equipped with amateur radio, will be on the O'Keefe Rail Trail tomorrow.
Cobram residents John Anderson and Ian Cobb will race down memory lane this weekend when they compete in the annual Historic Winton.
Deniliquin Fire and Rescue's open day has been hailed a success by captain Bill Muirhead.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is investigating incidents of abortion or still-births under the Lamb and Kid Mortality Surveillance Project.(LKSMP).
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