Enter sandman: Identity of Port Fairy's 'Sand Banksy' sculptor revealed

From an enormous roly-poly dog, to a startlingly realistic yelping head and a cartoonish bust of former prime minister Tony Abbott, intricate works of art have been popping up along Port Fairy's East Beach over the past week.

Yet the ephemeral sand sculptures washed away  before curious locals could figure out who  had created the sandy masterpieces.

The mystery prompted a flurry of posts to the Port Fairy Community Noticeboard Facebook page in an attempt to find the artist.

Unlike the real Banksy, the elusive Britsh street artist whose identity has never been confirmed publicly, the artist dubbed 'Sand Banksy' has now been pictured in the act.

Ballarat man Richard, who declined to reveal his surname, has been uncovered as the covert artist.

He is a holiday maker to the coastal town. "It's a three-hour activity on a sunny afternoon," Richard told the Warrnambool Standard while working on a new piece on the beach on Tuesday.


"They are usually gone the next day," Richard said of his sculptures, which have included a rather large sandy rendering of a $1 coin. "I think I started doing them when my children were little.

"We enjoy the Port Fairy sand. It can stick together and you can build it up quite tall."

Richard usually sculpts faces, but sometimes adds bodies or creates animals. "I've done some heads and dogs," he said.

A post to the Port Fairy Community Notice Board Facebook page on the mystery sculptures.

A post to the Port Fairy Community Notice Board Facebook page on the mystery sculptures. Photo: Val Sheehan/Facebook

"I've been using my smartphone to attempt to do some different faces. I might look up a grumpy old man or a sports star with expressions such as anger or delight. I've done some tennis players, actors and politicians."

Richard said he had also tackled subjects close to him. "I've also done a self-portrait and one of my partner. She left me soon after," he joked.

Beachgoers have also spotted gorillas and mermaid sculptures during ventures along the shoreline.

Richard said he didn't make the sculptures to draw praise. "It whiles away the time and gives me a short-term goal with satisfaction at the end," he said.

"It was never to draw attention to myself. People come up for a chat and little kids enjoy it."

Richard has been coming to Port Fairy for about 20 years. Local residents reported seeing his sculptures last year as well. 

The Warrnambool Standard