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Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The sculpture commemorates Australian motorcyclist, Ken Blake who died in 1981. 

Ken Blake grew up in Strathalbyn, and after he left school, he became an apprentice panel beater at Gilbert Motors. He honed his skills as a motorcyclist around the district until opportunity led him to Melbourne. From there – with enormous support from sponsors and friends – Ken went on to win 11 national and international motor racing titles. Ken was tragically killed in what was planned to be his last race at the Isle of Man where he hit a wet patch on the track and aquaplaned into a barrier. He died instantly on 9 June 1981. 

An incredible sculpture of the great motorcyclist Kenny Blake has been unveiled in Strathalbyn. Kenny was a Strathalbyn icon; he grew up there, and in honour of him the annual Kenny Blake Festival of Motorcycling is held at the town’s oval on his birthday.

He started motorcycle racing his 1964 Triumph in 1966, and went on to win 11 national championships and compete at the Isle of Man. During his last race before retirement at the Isle of Man in 1981, his bike aquaplaned, and he slid and hit a concrete post and was killed instantly.

He is a revered Australian motorcyclist, and the festival celebrates both the man and the racer he was.  At this year’s festival, on October 26 to 28, a sculpture created by renowned Goolwa artist James Stewart was unveiled by Governor of SA, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le.

Mr Stewart said the sculpture took about three-and-a-half months to make and weighs an estimated half a tonne. “It was exciting to have it finished but some of the troubles were just beginning, with transport and installation,” he said. “But it was so overwhelming on Sunday (October 28), there were so many people.”

It is made out of mechanical parts of all shapes and sizes welded together; he originally planned to make it all out of motorcycle parts and motorcycle-related tools but other parts were included, such as aircraft pieces. A Coopers beer bottle cap on his helmet “claims him back to South Australia” – as he got better at racing, he moved to Victoria to compete. He said there were a “few little headaches” such as crafting the rear tyre and fabricating the whole engine, but finishing it was a rewarding experience.
The Murray Valley Standard (SA), 7 November, 2018. 


Address:Grey & High Streets, Strathalbyn, 5255
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.254491
Long: 138.892498
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:
Actual Event End Date:
Designer:James Stewart (Goolwa, SA)
Artist:James Stewart (Goolwa, SA)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 28th October, 2018
Front Inscription

Ken Blake
(27 October 1945 - 9 June 1981)

Unveiled by His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia on 28 October 2018

This sculpture celebrates the life and achievements of Ken Blake, an Australian motorcycling icon. 

Blake grew up in Strathalbyn.  He started racing a 1964 Triumph in 1966 and went on to conquer the greats in his chosen sport, winning 11 national championships.

Tragically, Ken Blake died in 1981 after crashing his Yahama TZ350 motorcycle during the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race.

The sculpture depicts Blake and a Suzuki RG500.  He famously won the 1976 Australian 500 Tourist Trophy on this model motorcycle, defeating 15-time World Champion, Giacomo Agostini in a thrilling race.

Left Side Inscription

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Sculpture designed and created by Goolwa artist James Stewart

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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