A TWO year project honouring the Murray Cod, Murray Darling and river red gum has come to conclusion, with woodcarver Hape Kiddle signing off on his statue and ushering it into the next stage of its life.
The 650 kilogram monster Murray Cod will now find its new home in Canberra at the National Museum of Australia, being put on display to pay homage to the MIA region and its lifeblood, the Murray River.
"The National Museum wanted to make an indication of the size of this particular fish, to demonstrate the capacity that the healthy River has run at in times past," Mr Kiddle explained.
"It represents the largest Murray Cod records that we have, the actual fish was 22 years old and 2.25 metres long, and existed approximately 5,000 years ago."
The exact replica was carved using River red gum from the Murray Darling system, using a log which originally weighed 1.1 ton.
Mr Kiddle said he thoroughly enjoyed taking on the project, despite how monumentally challenging it proved to be.
"River red gum is a terrible carving timber, notoriously bad for chipping out at the worst times," he said.
"I've gone quite aggressive with the axes in the initial stages but then come down to smaller chisels and more controlled cuts later on.
"I absolutely loved it, it's been a wonderful project."
To ensure a carbon copy was made, a Murray Cod affectionately named Murray, lived in Mr Kiddle's studio as he carved away at his latest achievement.
"A lot of people think you carve from the outside in, but to really get the understanding of something you have to get a feeling for it," Mr Kiddle explained.
"Little 50 centimetre Murray was living here, and he was donated generously along with his tank by Murray Cod Australia."
The highly-acclaimed woodcarver said he was sad to see the statue leave his workshop, but was also ready to take on other projects.