When the Mundulla Show committee introduced an acquisitive sculpture prize as part of its competition line-up, long-time show supporter and Tatiara District councillor, Liz Goossens, became concerned that it wouldn’t catch on.
“We sent out letters to lots of well-known sculptors, but got a bit worried that no one was going to enter,” she says.
Liz raided a friend’s shed and collected a ute-load of steel before setting to work on some creations of her own.
“We’ve been brought up exhibiting all our lives; mum and dad taught us that if you don’t have people entering and getting involved, then you don’t have an event, so it’s definitely in my blood,” she says.
“I didn’t know how to weld, but you could enter anonymously, so I figured no-one would know it was me if they weren’t really up to scratch.”
Liz’s secret didn’t last long when she was awarded first, second and third place. She used her prize money to buy a new welder, and has been sculpting ever since.
As part of the competition rules, the winning sculptures remain in Mundulla as public artworks, and many now feature along the walking trail on the common land surrounding the picturesque Limestone Coast town.
Originally intended for grazing, the area spanning 110ha is now a popular recreational space widely used by residents and visitors, and sculptures of birds, butterflies, snails, kangaroos, emus, frogs and flying ducks are a big drawcard.
“There’s even fairies and lots of other small things that kids love; you might come across a bird up a tree – it isn’t always obvious, as a lot of them blend in with their surroundings,” Liz says.
With her own backyard overlooking the trail, Liz frequently adds to the collection, often collaborating with long-time Country Fire Service volunteer Brian Wiese.
“Although I know what I’m trying to create, I often don’t know the engineering side of it but Brian’s really practical, and I love his ‘we’ll be right’ attitude,” Liz says.
This year’s theme for the show sculpture prize is ‘The Wheels of Time’ and Liz’s creation is still evolving. She’s also trying out black forest cake recipes after the council CEO challenged the elected female members to a show bake-off. Meanwhile, Mayor Graham Excell and the male councillors are vying for the best West End beer cake.
“It’s all a lot of fun,” Liz says. “While other country shows are struggling, we’ve always had a really strong indoor section, and I think it’s because Mundulla has been innovative and moved with the times.”
The Mundulla Show is held every year on the first Saturday of March in conjunction with the Moot Yang Gunya Festival. For more information, visit mundullashow.org.au
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