Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has unveiled a life-sized bronze statue of rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston at the new Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville.
The statue of ‘JT’ was sculpted by local artist Jane Hawkins and immortalises Thurston kicking the field goal that sealed the 2015 NRL premiership for the North Queensland Cowboys.
“Johnathan Thurston is a great Queenslander and a great Australian who has done so much to support the local communities in Townsville and North Queensland – in fact right across our State and Australia,” the Premier said.
“He is best-known for his amazing feats on the field however JT does an incredible amount of work off the field too.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said that Jane Hawkins had done an incredible job in capturing the likeness of the Townsville hero.
“Johnathan Thurston is an inspirational supporter of Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples, a great ambassador for North Queensland and an inspirational role model for our children,” Mr Harper said.
“He was the 2018 Queensland Australian of the Year – he’s a true champion in every sense of the word.
“Local artist Jane Hawkins has done a wonderful job, capturing how we all feel about the Townsville legend.”
Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni said the Johnathan Thurston statue would greet North Queenslanders and visitors upon entry to the stadium reminding them of North Queensland’s sporting prowess.
“Everyone who played a part in building this iconic venue should be very proud and it all started with JT,” Minister de Brenni said.
“JT’s statue will stand tall at the northern entry to the stadium as a testament to the determination of North Queenslanders.
“We built this stadium to bring world class sport events to the North and encourage a new generation to love sport as JT does.”
The Premier said the world-class stadium was built by North Queenslanders for North Queenslanders and created 750 fulltime jobs during construction.
“This stadium is being delivered on time thanks to the local tradies and apprentices who have been working hard since 2017 to make it happen,” she said.
“Besides delivering a major venue for the north, one of my government’s key objectives for this project was to ensure it delivered real benefits to local business and created local jobs.
“85 per cent of workers on the site were North Queensland locals and 488 local businesses benefitted through the supply chain.
“This local workforce also included 121 apprentices and 17 trainees who have gained valuable on-the-job experience.
“I look forward to attending a special thank you barbeque at the stadium later today with the workers who brought this project to life.
“It’s an extraordinary venue and I can’t wait for the North Queensland community to start enjoying it.”
The Queensland Country Bank Stadium will host a Sir Elton John concert on 29 February and then the North Queensland Cowboys play their first NRL match of the 2020 season at the stadium against Brisbane Broncos on 13 March.
The $293.5 million North Queensland Stadium is a joint project of the Queensland Government, Australian Government and Townsville City Council and is supported by both the National Rugby League and the North Queensland Cowboys. The stadium forms part of the Townsville City Deal signed in December 2016.
Premier’s Office – Chris Taylor 0400 990 162