On the high street of a small historic town, an eye-catching and remarkably lifelike wooden sculpture takes visitors back to the daily life of Chewton’s gold-rush era. The sculpture, which was unveiled in 2017, depicts Robert Penney, one of many who arrived in the mid 1800s in search of fortune and a better life.
But it was his bakery, established in the 1870s while raising a family of 10 children with his wife Ann Maria, that led to his being immortalized in art. His longtime business made him a town fixture and part of its history. Richard Yates, an artist from Wyoming who moved to Victoria in 2002, designed and sculpted Penney, along with other important figures in the town’s history.
Visitors can see the attention to detail in the work, such as the yellow tins of Barnes Castlemaine Rock, a sweet sold to miners—as well as anyone with a sweet tooth right up to producer’s closure in 2018. The building which housed the original bakery is now a residential house. A small plaque that pays tribute to Penney’s life reads: “Robert Penney ‘Bread & Biscuit Baker, Confectioner & General Grocer’ for nigh on 50 Years.”
Know Before You Go
The sculpture is nearby The Red Hill Hotel, a country pub across the road. It is easy to find parking in the town.