Weddin's art is a big welcome


By Helen Carpenter, NSW-based Media Stringer

Australian regional communities have faced many challenges over the past few years including the flooding rains of 2017, followed by the worst drought in history 2018-2019 (which is ongoing in many regions) then horrific bushfires of 2019-20 and the continuing impact of the global wide CIVID 19 pandemic. These trying and uncertain times have pit communities under social and economic pressure which will have a ripple effect well into the future. However, regional Australians are well placed to work through these hard times as they are resilient and work to support each other collectively.

My own community of Grenfell, in regional NSW, is a very active in driving community projects that bring people together.

On the back of a very successful Community Poppy Project held in 2018 commemorating the Centenary of Armistice our community launched another project which has once again demonstrated our community strength and resilience in action.

The Grenfell Garden Club met to ideate a new Community based project and the result was the installation of public art in the form of an amazing sculpture. They commissioned local artist, sculptor and Garden club member, Kathleen McCue to design and sculpt a piece of Public Art to be installed in the community.

The brief for the sculpture was that the work was to reflect and symbolise community spirit. The Garden Club used funds raised from the Open Garden program to fund the project. It is also a celebration of locals and a welcoming gesture for travellers visiting the town.'

The final stage of the Public Art project involved the design and fabrication of three Gazania stalks with open flower heads, as the Gazania is the unofficial flower of the Weddin Shire. Launched at the end of June, the Gazania sculpture reflects the beautiful Gazanias seen flowering on the footpaths, nature strips, in gardens around the township of Grenfell and other locations in the Weddin Shire.

For the first stage of the project Kathleen designed a Wedge-tailed eagle sculpture which is perched on the edge of its nest. Wedge-tailed eagles are regularly seen soaring on the thermals above the Shire and are a totem for community spirit and strength.

Community spirit shines through in regional towns, even during times of adversity and uncertainty, this sculpture and Public Art installation is a testament to that: and ever-present reminder of the strength and soul within our communities. This community project was coordinated with the support of the Weddin Shire. - Reproduced with consent of Rural Room.

CONGRATULATIONS: Denise Makin, manager of the Cowra/Grenfell Meals on Wheels Food Service said she is feeling very honoured and humbled to have been awarded the Cowra Rotary Club "Pride of Workmanship Award".

"For over 20 years I have always felt passionate, believed in and loved what I do," Denise said. "Ensuring high quality, flexible, amazing life changing outcomes, Cowra/Grenfell Meals on Wheels delivers throughout the communities. More than just a Meal.

"Thank you to the board, staff, volunteers, clients and suppliers, past and present."

WEAR RED DAY: Students and staff at Quandialla Public School dressed in red on Thursday July 30 to support Ronald McDonald House (Orange).

Principal Kate Johnson said, "Everyone looked fabulous in their red and thanks for the generous donations - a total of $116.00 was raised."

POLES APART: Grenfell's pole-walking group were captured admiring the silo on their vigorous early-morning town walk. (Jenn Graham "The Bird Lady" happened to meet these folk as she was out walking taking photos).

Pole walking organised by the Grenfell Community Health has been running for more than 10 years but owing to the restrictions with Covid -19 is now in recess. Hence these locals are just enjoying their social pole-walking practising social distancing.

RECORD THROWBACKS: From Friday January 9 1998. Is the HSC just a test?

When you think HSC and the wait for results you tend to think of younger people but in Grenfell two mature age students have undertaken studies for the past five years to gain their HSC.

Mena Galvin and Rita Page just completed one more exam towards their Higher School Certificate. This leaves one more year of study and one last exam to complete. The ladies have been studying together for the HSC since 1994. Their purpose is to gain the accreditation from the Department of Education. The emphasis for the two ladies is to achieve a certificate, it is not the individual scores they gain in the process.