By Bonny Burrows
Mr Yakkerboo is a well-loved local identity, however not everyone loves an $80,000 bronze and steel sculpture erected in his honour.
The sculpture of the town’s mythical bunyip-style swamp character was unveiled in Pakenham’s Main Street on 20 April but drew criticism from some ratepayers who described the artwork as a waste of money.
Of particular concern to residents was the fact the artist commissioned to complete the work was not local.
The statue was created by Newcastle artist Julie Squires and features Mr Yakkerboo with his new canine mate Blue.
The former Melburnian had never heard of Yakkerboo before responding to a call for public submissions but quickly educated herself.
“I’d spent a day researching the Yakkerboo… and I just thought trying to teach people about the history of the area is really important,” Ms Squires said.
Taking inspiration from the original Mr Yakkerboo, which was designed by primary school students, Ms Squires turned to local schools for assistance.
More than 200 children contributed to the project, which took six months to complete.
Despite the local input, some residents still love to hate Mr Yakkerboo and Blue.
“Surely there’s a much better way to spend our money,” one resident, who did not wish to be named, said