Famous for its street architecture, Rundle Mall in Adelaide was opened as a pedestrian mall on the 1st day of September 1976, by closing the section of Rundle Street between King William Street and Pulteney Street to vehicular traffic. Within a short time following its opening the mall became the centrepiece of Adelaide's city centre as the home of the South Australian flagship stores of many large Australian retailers and many smaller independent and chain stores.
However, the mall also offers attractions that extend beyond shopping, as it contains several items of modern sculpture that includes a bronze sculpture of a group of life-sized pigs, officially named A Day Out by Marguerite Derricourt, depicting the pigs rooting around a rubbish bin.
As part of the final stage of an upgrade of Rundle Mall in the late 1990s, the sculpture was instigated by the Adelaide City Council and a national sculpture competition was arranged.
Out of the 126 entries, a selected panel comprising the representatives of the Art Gallery of South Australia, the upgrade project’s architect, the council, a Rundle Mall trader and the arts sector, adjudged the South African-born and Sydney-based sculptor Marguerite Derricourt as the winner of the competition.
Before the four bronze pigs were officially launched by the Mayor of the city on 3 July 1999, they literally flew as they were hoisted by cranes onto the trucks to be restored before their return to the mall. During that time, it was reported that all four pigs were very well behaved as they were herded on to the truck and proper care would be taken to be carefully attended to by expert pig minders, meaning the artists, while they are on holiday.
While Marguerite Derricourt, the artist, confessed that she was partly inspired by the Il Porcellino (piglet) fountain in Florence, created by Pietro Tacca in 1612, some people believe the pigs are meant to signify the crazy shoppers at the Rundle Mall sniffing out a prized bargain.
It seems from the sculpture that the four life-size bronze pigs are having a great day out in the Rundle Mall, as one has his snout in a rubbish bin bronzed-capped with a crumpled milk carton, orange peel, a half-eaten banana, apple core and a left-over sandwich, another happily sits with its very large bottom spread on the pavement, while still another comes running to join the fun. Adored by the children and the adults alike, they seem to be indifferent to their celebrity status as they enjoy a day out in the city and happily provide their admirers with rides, hugs and even a place to sit.
Prompted by the positive response by the public for the unusual sculpture of the funny pigs situated toward the west end of Rundle Mall, the Adelaide City Council and the Advertiser newspaper to conduct a competition to name them and after the end of the process, plaques were placed to the before the celebrity pigs stating the particular name of the pig and the person who named it. According to the plaques, Sarah Chan named the standing pig Oliver, Sam Andt named the happy pig Truffles and the sitting pig was named Augusta by Dorothy Arnold. It is believed by the locals that rubbing either their nose, neck or their back is supposed to bring good luck.