If you’ve driven down the main street of Hamilton in recent years, it’s unlikely that you would have missed the huge “Nucleus” statue in the city centre, and while the sculpture is a wonder in itself , the story behind it is just as amazing. Donated by Geoff Handbury, the sculpture reflects not only the heart of the couple, but also of the region.
When the late Geoff and Helen Handbury, moved to a farm here in far western Victoria in 1973 they recall a heartfelt welcome from the community. “They really wanted us to succeed in farming and helped us with lots of advice,” Handbury said in a 2014 Weekly Times article. The greeting left such an impression that throughout their lifetime the pair showered western Victoria, particularly Hamilton, with many significant donations.
With such devotion to the community, the red oval shaped sculpture Geoff purchased for the town, which has gained the nickname “The Heart of Hamilton”, is quite fitting. Likened to a heart, the sculptures fluid reaction to change could be compared to Mr. Handbury’s own generous and open-hearted approach. The futuristic sculpture is the work of artist Phil Price with its shape depending on the wind, as kinetic parts separate and reform. The unique piece was selected by Mr. Handbury in the hope it “makes people stop, relax and smile”.
Making their fortune in imports, exports and agriculture as well as being owners of the ACE Radio Network, Geoff and Helen became very generous local philanthropists – well known as regional Victoria’s, and even Australia’s, most influential entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Their charitable donations include funding to local schools, hospitals and art galleries for upgrades and additions as well as funding for the National Centre for Farmers Health in Hamilton. “The old saying that it is better to give than receive is absolutely true, I get so much pleasure from it,” Mr. Handbury said.
A drive down Hamilton’s main street to see the one-of-a-kind sculpture is a must while in town and we recommend to pause for a minute to take in the almost constant movement of each section, which will leave you in awe.
Share with us your visit to the Hamilton Nucleus by tagging us @VisitGreaterHamilton and tell us what you think – love it or hate it, it’s a striking emblem for our region!
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