The Glen - Constellations of the South


The Glen public reserve is a large tract of open bushland adjacent to the New England Highway off Barleyfields Road. The reserve is transected by Rocky Creek and is home to a series of large sculptural artworks called ‘Constellations of the South’.

The Glen is located adjacent to the Rotary Park, which features picnic facilities, a BBQ area, and toilets, a mere 200 metre walk from The Glen carpark.


Off-Leash Area

The Glen is a designated off-leash area at all times. Please be respectful of other visitors and follow Off-Leash Rules and Guidelines.


Constellations of the South

Constellations of the South is a set of eight sculptures representing elements of our southern night sky, alongside the Stargazer and the Spire. The Stargazer represents the viewer, and in conjunction with the Spire can help locate the south celestial pole. 

It was conceived by local artist Carl Merten, amateur astronomer the late Charlie Rudd of Uralla’s Phoenix Foundry, and the Uralla Arts Council. The project invited sculptors from around the region to respond to circumpolar constellations visible in Uralla’s night sky.

The first two sculptures were installed in 2004 and work was completed in 2024 with the addition of a further eight works made possible with support of the NSW Government and Uralla Shire Council.

At the summer solstice if you stand behind the Stargazer and look through the telescope towards the Spires sphere, you can find the celestial south pole. If the Earth's axis was extended into the sky, this is the point it would transect.

The Southern Cross (Crux) can be used to locate south at night. 

  • Find the Southern Cross and the Pointers.
  • Draw an imaginary line perpendicular to the Pointers.
  • Draw a second line through the longest axis of the Southern Cross and extend it to cross the first line.
  • Where the two lines meet is the celestial south pole.
  • Drop a third line perpendicular down to the Earth to find south.

Find out more at ABC Science or watch this helpful video:

The unique Constellations of the South Sculptures at The Glen:

This project started as a shared interest in science and astronomy by Charlie Rudd and Carl Merten. Charlie Rudd (deceased), one of the owners of the Phoenix foundry had worked with Carl Merten and Joan Relke on various sculpture projects. They were also members of Uralla Arts and between them, submitted a proposal with the help of Steven Gapes, for the ‘Circumpolar Constellations of the South Sculptures’ installation at The Glen. 

Joan Relke and Carl Merten designed the first two sculptures representing Crux (southern cross) and Carina. They created each sculpture not only as representing the Crux and Carina constellations, but also to momentarily hold the stars within the form as they circle above Uralla. To quote Ms Relke: “I created The Spirit of the Southern Cross to bring this constellation closer to us. She reaches up from her earthly home to grasp the rising constellation as it moves along its trajectory through the night sky. As it passes between her hands, she grasps it, momentarily connecting earth and sky - the world of mortals and the heavenly realm. She holds it like a cat's cradle, taut between her hands, before releasing it back to heaven.”     

Such sculpture, linking art, science and myth is unusual.  But this concept is at the heart of the Constellations of the South sculpture installation. Each sculpture represents a particular circumpolar constellation that circles the south celestial pole. Ancient stargazers associated myths in the clusters of stars, seeing stories and fabled creatures of fire, air, earth and water. These patterns of stars we call constellations were often used for navigation.

Thus, to quote Mr Merten, “the Ancient Greeks saw Carina as the keel of the Argo, the ship which took Jason and the Argonauts to Colchis in search of the Golden Fleece. At the time of the Ancient Greek civilisation, c500 BCE, the constellation of the Argo sat on the southern horizon as a ship would sit on the sea. Because of the precession of the equinoxes, today this constellation can no longer be seen from the northern hemisphere, and is now one of the southern circumpolar constellations, seen only from the southern hemisphere.”

The stargazer sculpture by Nicole O’Regan aligns with the spire to locate the south celestial pole at 30.5 degrees. The other six constellations circling the point of the spire are Phoenix by Rick Tait, Lupus by Kerry Gulliver, Spin by Andrew Parker, Musca by Jan Clarke, Pavo by Carl Merten, (based on a sketch by a high school student) and Hydrus by Rhonda Ellem. Five of these sculptures were constructed in aluminium by Rick Tait, using state of the art computer technology with the artists’ designs. Pavo was constructed in stainless steel by Carl Merten with the assistance of Rodney Day. The original two sculptures, Crux and Carina were cast in aluminium from patterns supplied by Joan Relke and Carl Merten, moulded and cast at Phoenix foundry and the sections welded by Don Hitchings   

The first two sculptures were installed and officially opened with astronomer Fred Watson’s book launch “Stargazer, the Life and Times of the Telescope” on the 4th September, 2004. 

This sculpture installation, with the original concept now finally completed and again officially opened by Fred Watson AM, twenty years later, is a unique and combined effort by local artists, Uralla Council, the NSW Government, the skilled input of local business and the support of the community. 

As a lasting legacy for visitors to Uralla, it may stimulate an awareness of the scientific progress since Galileo’s tiny ‘optick tube’ was pointed at the sky some four hundred years ago. Now we can download magnificent pictures of far-flung space from the Hubble, the James Webb and soon the Nancy Grace Roman space telescopes. It may also remind many that we exist on a tiny planet, only 12,765  kilometres in diameter with the perfect balance of fire, air, earth and water, sustaining life in all its beauty and wonder.