Containbow: You gotta go

Tania and Ken Turner pose under Rainbow, but the sculpture’s future is now under a cloud. Photo by Steve Grant.

RAINBOW, Fremantle’s colourful and now iconic entry statement of sea containers, has to be moved.

Main Roads confirmed to the Herald on Thursday that as part of works for the new Fremantle Traffic Bridge, Containbow – as it’s been colloquially dubbed – will need to go.

“The Containbow sculpture is located in Main Roads’ Canning Highway road reserve,” Main Roads spokesperson Dean Roberts told the Herald.

“This road reserve is now required for the Swan River Crossing project.

“Discussions with the Containbow artist have started to understand his ideas regarding future use and location. The City of Fremantle is included in discussions as the city commissioned the artwork.

“Main Roads understands the Containbow is a highly valued public art installation in Fremantle.

“This is the reason the city and the artist were directly contacted well in advance of construction.”

The Herald understands mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge and council officers were briefed a fortnight ago, but that was on an undertaking of confidentiality and she said any comment would have to wait “until options finalised”.

Similarly, artist Marcus Canning told the Herald he was also not in a position to comment.

Part of the discussions have apparently been around finding temporary storage if a new home for the sculpture can’t be found before roadworks begin.

Rainbow has become an image synonymous with Fremantle, with images being sold online by hopeful Instagrammers and markets t-shirts running neck-and-neck with another Freo icon – the flour Dingo.


When the Chook dropped down to get its own photo of Rainbow on Thursday, Wanneroo couple Ken and Tania Turner were posing underneath.

They’d come to Freo for the Michelangelo exhibition in the Naval Store across the road, but seeing the sculpture were drawn for a closer look.

“Even though we kind of came to see Michelangelo, we could see this as we were walking up there and thought ‘we’ve got to come and see it and take a photo’,” Mr Turner said.

“It’s a nice little icon.”

Ms Turner said she’d seen the image online, but this was their first visit to the sculpture, the couple re-discovering Fremantle after a long absence.

“I think the last time I came to Fremantle before that was to watch East Perth play South Fremantle back in the 

‘70s and ‘80s,” Mr Turner said.

Main Roads has assured Fremantle residents that the southern end of the crossing under Cantonment Hill won’t be slathered with the large screening panels that have proven polarising along High Street.

“Design development is continuing, which includes assessments on noise impacts,” Mr Roberts said.


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