Jacaranda Jill to rise from the ashes
JACARANDA Jill, a six-metre tall kewpie doll acted as a symbol of a reborn Jacaranda festival which stood tall in Market Square at Grafton last year.
So it was met with equal parts horror and anger when vandals set the doll alight on the second last night of the festival, causing extensive damage.
Spurred on by local helpers and some overseas expert knowledge, plans are underway to restore Jacaranda Jill to her rightful spot at the centre of the festival this year.
Festival Manager Mark Blackadder said there was always plans to rejuvenate the doll and make her purple, though after the fire, extensive repair work needs to occur.
"Michelle Vidler and Judy Hackett are heading up the team with our committee and also supporting Brennan Elks at Caringa where they'll be working the framework," he said.
"It's a collaboration of many people, but with the amount of material and frame, it's a big expense."
The Festival has started a GoFundMe for the project, which is estimated could cost up to $10,000 to complete.
"There's a lot of material required, and also the framework damage is quite extensive, so it's a big expense," Mr Blackadder said.
"There's a big collaboration of many people on the project. I think it's become a city icon, and everyone fell in love with her, so people are willing to help."
The project will be assisted by Brian Tomson, who created the large-scale doll for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and gifted the doll to the Jacaranda Festival.
In conjunction with London based design Justin Nardella, they have created a 3d-printed scale model of the new doll, which shows the design of the intricate framework.
With offers of material coming from the local Spotlight store, and a workplace at Caringa organised, Mr Blackadder said that with the support of the community, they hoped to have the doll on display at Jacaranda Time.
"The idea is to have her pride of place for this year's festival," he said.
Donations will go directly to the Jacaranda Festival. The GoFundMe page can be found HERE.