Rejoice... Skywhale is heading back to Canberra. Photo: Jay Cronan
Skywhale will make its much anticipated return to Canberra next weekend.
The city’s controversial centenary hot air balloon will be part of the University of Canberra’s Open Day on August 31, the first of eight appearances.
While some were happy to see the back of the 10-breasted balloon when it left the city for flights in Tasmania, many grew to love the unique creature with an alluring smile.
Created by artist Patricia Piccinini to celebrate the Centenary of Canberra, Skywhale will make a tethered appearance near the Haydon Drive entrance to the UC campus during the Open Day event.
Members of the public eager to get a closer look will also be able to take tethered flights in the balloon, weather permitting, in return for a donation to the Centenary charity, Dollars for Dili.
Since making her last flight over Canberra in May, the 23-metre high balloon has made multiple flights over Hobart and Launceston, where it continued to generate interest and divide public opinion.
Weighing half a tonne and twice the size of the standard hot-air balloon, Skywhale cost ACT taxpayers $300,000, but the balloon belongs to Melbourne company Global Ballooning.
Many called her ugly and questioned the money spent on her, others marvelled and claimed her promotion of Canberra was valued in the millions.
A flight for two in Skywhale sold last week for $1565 in the Centenary charity auction.
That flight is due to take place over Canberra on Saturday 7 September.
It will make more tethered flights; at the Gunning Fireworks Festival on September 14, and at the Bloom Festival by the Ainslie Arts Centre the following Saturday.
Skywhale is also set to make a Floriade appearance with a tethered flight on the evening of September 27 (a “nightglow”) as part of Floriade’s Nightfest.