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Big Fish Swimming in a Small Pond

Big Fish Swimming in a Small Pond

Northern Territorians know their barramundi, which is why ASSDA Accredited Fabricator Northern Stainless had to get it absolutely right when they reeled in the contract to design and fabricate this 1030mm specimen.

The silver fish has a mythical reputation in the NT, not least because of its shimmering, silver appearance.

Northern Stainless operations manager Darren Colbert said they had no hesitation in saying they could get the job done to their client's satisfaction, because of their ability to create the barra's mesmerising shimmer in stainless steel.

We knew stainless was the right material for the job because we needed the water feature to last in Darwin's tropical environment, as well as best represent the barra's colour, Mr Colbert said.

We promised the client that we would create something that everyone would want to steal and I reckon we delivered.

The fish, which was commissioned for Osborne Family Holdings Hastings over Mindil apartment complex in Fannie Bay, Darwin, was fabricated from around 15kg of 316 stainless steel with a No. 4 finish. It was then regrained and the scales were polished into it. A 6mm tube sits inside, enabling the water to spray the gill plate.

Mr Colbert said one of the challenges of the project was converting a graphic design program to create a laser file.

The barra was cut out flat with a laser, then rolled and hand curved to create the three dimensional sculpture.

When it is installed in situ (expected to be late October 2006), there will be a fishing rod mounted on the wall of the water feature, with an optic fibre fishing line threaded with a stainless steel fly hook. The entire sculpture will rock slightly, creating turbulence in the water and giving the impression that the barra is working hard against being reeled in.

This barra may not enjoy the freedom of the NT's waters, but it will certainly garner the same admiration as the real thing.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 37, October 2006.

Lissel Pilcher