Sydney: Aussie celebs immortalised in wax

By Genevieve Gannon

Actor Ian Smith (right) poses for photographs with his wax figure in the character of Harold Bishop from 'Neighbours' at Madame Tussauds in Sydney. Photo / AAP
Actor Ian Smith (right) poses for photographs with his wax figure in the character of Harold Bishop from 'Neighbours' at Madame Tussauds in Sydney. Photo / AAP

Keith Urban, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Crocodile Dundee are personalities you might not expect to see sharing the same stage.

But at Madame Tussauds wax museum - which opened in Sydney last week - anything can happen.

The world renowned attraction has been given an Australian makeover and has set-up shop in Darling Harbour.

International A-listers such as Hugh Jackman and Cate Blanchett rub shoulders with local stars such as presenter Amanda Keller and Home and Away's Ray "Alf Stewart" Meagher.

Guy Pearce, who graduated from Ramsay Street to Hollywood Boulevard with films such as LA Confidential and Momento, has been immortalised as his most famous Australian role in marabou feathers and hot pink eyeshadow.

Pearce's Felicia Jollygoodfellow, from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert, is joined by other Aussie icons such as Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) and the late actor Heath Ledger - who was awarded a posthumous Oscar - in the museum's film room.

Next door is an Australian television room devoted to stars of the small screen.

Ian Smith, better known as Harold Bishop from Neighbours, came face to face his wax alter-ego for the launch.

Smith said it was unnerving standing next to such a life-like recreation of himself, but insisted: "I'm not as fat as that.

"I feel like my friends, I've stood next to me," he said.

"I told my wife Gail when I drop off the perch she can take this home."

Also in the television room are Dame Edna Everage, Bert Newtown and a colourfully-dressed Rolf Harris, who donated original clothing and a wobble board to the artists.

Other stars also donated original items that are included with their figures.

Layne Beachley's wax model is dressed in bathers worn by the surfer.

The wax Delta Goodrem and Miranda Kerr have second-hand donated dresses that previously appeared on stage.

And the Jimmy Barnes that was chiselled from wax wears leather trousers that the real-life Barnes wore during a Sydney performance in 2009.

Madame Tussauds general manager Hywel Mathias said it takes 60 artists 800 hours to create a figure from beginning to end.

Each figurine is worth about A$220,000 (NZ$279,000).

"I've got a dedicated team who literally spend all the time re-touching, making it perfect, keeping it 100 per cent right," Mathias said.

"If we get a little bit of damage we resolve it but most people are quite respectful."

IF YOU GO

Madame Tussauds is at Sydney's Darling Harbour, next to Sydney Aquarium. It's open from 9am to 8pm daily, with last admission at 7pm. You can save 20 per cent on the standard walk-up price by booking online.

- AAP


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