Muttaburra sculpts a feast for the eyes

Dinosaur theme at 2019 Muttaburra sculpture festival


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A sandstone carving of a baby dinosaur emerging, a metallic yellowbelly, and a flourishing steel grasstree are among the new sculptures that will be brightening up the small town of Muttaburra after this weekend.

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A sandstone carving of a baby dinosaur emerging, a metallic yellowbelly, and a flourishing steel grass tree are among the new sculptures that will be brightening up the small town of Muttaburra after this weekend.

They were the winners of a sculpture competition that's held every five years to add to the streetscape that is beautifying the township and surrounds.

The town's name originates from the Aboriginal word for Meeting of the Waters, Mootaburra, and the competition means the community of 100 in the centre of Queensland is fast becoming known as a meeting place for creativity with scrap metals.

A Killarney creator who spends a lot of time in Barcaldine, Paul Stumkat asked the eternal question, 'what came first, the dinosaur or the egg' with his winning carving that judges Milynda Rogers and Leah Cameron described as giving them a feeling of tranquility.

"The way in which the animal is encased in such a cocoon evokes the feeling of emergence from a period of transformation," Mr Stumkat said in his explanation.

Ms Rogers said they had judged the 16 works in this year's competition on their suitability as a public work of art and said the carving was durable, safe for the public, and had a minimal cost to install, as well as being a beautiful piece of work.

"It ticked all the boxes," she said.

A yellowbelly made by Amber Coulton from Aramac was the runner-up and the judges said its creativity with scrap material had caught their eyes.

Muttaburra's Peter 'Winx' Turnbull received both the highly commended and people's choice awards for his grass tree, one of two in the contest.

"I won't be making another one, put it that way," he said of his wine cask rings and old fencing wire creation. "It needs a lot of patience."

Ms Rogers said it was a shame they could only give three prizes, such was the competitiveness of the entries.

The winner received $5000, the runner-up $3000 and highly commended $2000, being acquisitive awards and Barcaldine Regional councillor Jenny Gray said it was done on a five-yearly basis to give entrants time to come up with original ideas and to search through enough rubbish dumps for their inspiration.

Jericho-based judge Milynda Rogers, also a Barcaldine councillor, is known as the Scrapmetal Sheila and the person responsible for the acclaimed Lake Dunn Sculpture Trail.

Related: Thurston immortalised on sculpture trail

Examples of her work are all round town, including the 2014 competition winning entry of two graceful brolgas, and Barb, the barbed wire dinosaur commissioned by Red Ridge.

She left a grass tree of her own behind on the weekend, for the new prehistoric garden surrounding the rocky Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre that has recently arisen around the town's dinosaur legend.

Rockhampton gardener Tom Wyatt and Longreach's own gardening authority Elisabeth Clark were both invited for the day.

Cr Gray said as well as believing sculpting was a part of gardening, the planting of a community garden with the children of the district involved young people in the day.

"Sometimes children feel they can't make sculptures but everyone can garden, and they all got down on their hands and knees in the dirt with Tom," she said. "It'll be a permanent reminder for them now as they each grow up."

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