A number of men working on remote cattle stations in Queensland took part in a two-day greenhide whip-making workshop at Glengyle Station near Bedourie last week.
It was undertaken by The Lost Art program, a regional partnership between arts development group Red Ridge and RAPAD Employment Services Queensland.
Red Ridge (Interior Queensland) Ltd manager, Louise Campbell said men of all ages had been targeted by the combined art and health project, and were able to come together in a creative way.
Bob “Willo” Wilson, a leather craft tutor with Red Ridge and Stephen “Parker” Dancey from the Central West Hospital and Health Service, travelled together to support the remote town with craft activities and health information and awareness.
Mr Dancey said from a little bit of leather great conversations occur, while Mr Wilson said it was important to get out and teach people the art of whip making before it is lost forever.
“The craft of greenhide whip making is a lost art and participants had waited a long time to learn the craft today,” he said.
“They tried to learn from books but there is nothing better than learning in a real life environment, learning in two days what they have tried to do in six months remotely.”
Red Ridge has been working with both Bedourie and Birdsville communities, delivering leather craft workshops in the community and at schools.
Louise said the increased community-driven interest identified the need for green leather craft workshops for men on rural stations.
Prior to the workshops, the greenhide was prepared on the station, ready for master craftsman Bob Wilson to share and teach his skills of skin preparation, cutting, and plaiting the greenhide whip.
“It was fantastic that young station hands have so much interest in the craft and want to do more,” Mr Wilson said.
As an art and health program The Lost Art support community health and wellbeing and directly benefits family, culture, employment, drug and alcohol education, creative skills development and community capacity building, according to Louise.
“These areas have remained the centre of this program and influence all aspects,” she said.
“Program content is determined between CWHHS and Red Ridge from community consultation.
“A focus to meet social and physical health and emotional wellbeing through arts and craft activities is very successful.
“Together we achieve more and the region benefits by being able to access greater services.”