After 15 years, one of Sydney’s biggest puzzles has been solved but not everyone is happy

Fifteen years ago — under the cover of darkness — two street artists crept down to the sand at Maroubra Beach with an armful of paint cans and transformed a concrete stormwater drain into a giant, scrambled Rubik’s Cube.

The piece of street art was so popular that it was allowed to become a permanent fixture of the beach, with Randwick Council ensuring it gets a refresh every couple of years.

The Maroubrix Cube — as it is affectionately referred to — is now listed as a tourist attraction on Google Maps, is included on Wikipedia’s Big Things of Australia page and has even been featured in a children’s book as a portal to another dimension.

Rubik’s Cube enthusiasts point out the cube had technically been painted in a way that made it impossible to successfully complete.

But on Friday morning Maroubrans nevertheless woke to find their beloved cube suddenly and finally solved.

The ABC has confirmed the new paint job is the work of the original artists from 2008, who have opted to remain anonymous.

“I was a bit surprised and shocked, I wasn’t prepared,” said Randwick Council mayor Philipa Veitch.

A woman reads a book on the beach while leaning against a giant Rubiks Cube

The Maroubrix Cube has been loved by locals and visitors for a decade and a half.(ABC News)

“I guess it’s a little bit of an affront to people like me who have never solved a Rubik’s Cube.”

She said regular beachgoers would be prompted to think about the artists’ intentions.

“It’s a simple but incredibly effective strategy where the artists have made an intervention to their own work and — if nothing else — will certainly prompt a lot of discussion,” she said.

“A great example of thought-provoking public art.”

Maroubra's Rubiks Cube decorated as a lamington with man standing beside

On National Lamington Day in July, Maroubra local Johnny temporarily gave the Rubik’s Cube a fresh look.(ABC News)

Many locals have applauded the change, calling it “satisfying” and “long overdue”, while others are not so sure.

“Maroubra seems to hold onto things that it knows very well, and doesn’t respond that well to change at times,” one beachgoer said.

“I like it the old way. Change it back,” said another.

Over the past decade-and-a-half, the cube has undergone just as dramatic — though less permanent — transformations.

Long-time local Johnny creates costumes for the Cube on special occasions by covering it in a homemade sleeve.

“I turned it into a lamington on Lamington Day,” he said.

A giant solved Rubiks Cube sits on the beach with surfer and walker behind

Randwick’s mayor says the cube will be left in its solved state for now.(ABC News: Geoff Kemp)

“And I got Christmas paper and wrapped it in a big red bow.”

In 2020, the cube was painted in pastels, but community outrage provoked by the change meant the colour scheme was short-lived.

Ms Veitch says she believes council should respect the artists’ intentions and leave the cube in a solved state for now.

“It’s nice to see it suddenly change, maybe at some point in the future they’ll change it back — or turn it into something different,” she said.

“I don’t think council should be intervening and trying to change it back, even though I quite liked it before.”

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