Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, Young used a wheelchair for most of her life. She died unexpectedly of a suspected aneurysm in Melbourne in December 2014.
Doctors had previously told Young’s parents that she would not live beyond her first birthday at most.
Just months before her death, Young attracted international attention with a speech she gave for TedX in Sydney where she said she wanted to live in a world where “we don’t have such low expectations of disabled people that we are congratulated for getting out of bed and remembering our own names in the morning”.
The life-size sculpture in her depiction is situated on Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk lands next to the water in Stawell’s Cato Park.
Local sculptor Danny Fraser designed the clay and steel model alongside other local Wimmera artists with lived experience of disability, before the statue was cast in bronze and unveiled late last month.
The ProjectThe Remembering Stella Young project, designed to “celebrate, commemorate and remember” her, was organised by the Northern Grampians Shire Council, which received funding from the Victorian Government through the Victorian Women’s Public Art Program.
The project saw the locally made model initially created in three separate pieces, Stella, her seat, and the wheelchair base.
Supporting safety moulds were then created to surround the work during transportation from Fraser’s studio to Perrin Foundry in Melbourne.
Family's InputYoung’s parents, Lynne and Greg Young were closely involved in the development and design of the monument for their daughter. Several visits to Fraser’s workshop allowed them input into the finer detail and personal characteristics that life-like pieces require.
As a former hairdresser, Stella’s mother was able to provide advice about how Stella would style her hair, in addition to those finer details that only a parent, or someone close, can provide.
Young first rose to national prominence through her writing, and regular media attendances which included an appearance on ABC program Q&A and Channel 10’s The Project.
Her journalistic career began earlier as the editor of ABC’s Ramp Up website, where she regularly challenged perceptions of disability.
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