After 10 years, T-rex stands tall in Hilton store

2016-05-25 13:01
Gerald Davie crouches next to Marmaduke, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, in his Geozone office in Hilton.

Gerald Davie crouches next to Marmaduke, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, in his Geozone office in Hilton. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A Tyrannosaurus Rex named Marmaduke has taken up residence in the leafy hollows of Hilton.

The two-metre tall structure, built and moulded from plaster of Paris, stands with his monstrous jaws agape in the Geozone store in Hilton Avenue, ready to make friends.

Geologist and the maker of Marmaduke, Gerald Davie, started the project 10 years ago.

What started out as a small plaster of Paris model, turned into a scaled down version of Tyrannosaurus Rex moulded and built over 10 years by Davie.

He said his love for dinosaurs started at a young age.

“My mother gave me a book on dinosaurs when I was five. It all started from there,” he said, laughing. “I had huge fun making it. It was immensely entertaining.

“The head was the hardest part. Every photograph of a T-Rex head is different and I looked at literally thousands of images. The first step was to make a maquette — a small model from which I could mould the larger head.”

Well, in theory that was a great idea, but the reality proved to be more difficult.

“The head you see now is the third attempt — the other two are now fossilising in the uMngeni Municipality landfill site, there to confuse palaeontologists in years to come.”

He said Marmaduke came perilously close to going extinct several times but he finally managed to finish building up the giant over weekends.

After Marmaduke was assembled, he was transported to the Geozone offices in Hilton where he still stands today.

“It is so rewarding to see children running up and pressing their noses and hands up against the glass window of the shop to get a look at Marma­duke,” said Davie.

“Some of the children jump out of their mother’s cars and run up to the store, and nervously ask if they can come in and have a look.”

Davie said he would like to create a dino dig for children to learn about dinosaurs and have fun. He said he would be holding an open day at Geozone next month.

For more information on Marmaduke, visit www.thedinozone.com.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  dinosaurs

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