It Takes a Community To Raise A Phoenix

Wedge Tailed Eagle by Colleen Lavender
Wedge Tailed Eagle by Colleen Lavender. Photo: Susie Cunningham

People are affected as a community by bushfires, and people can best recover together as a community. Mt Barney Lodge has launched a new event called Summer SILHOUETTE Sculptures with the support of the arts and local community and the council in only four weeks.

Tracey Larkin, co-owner of Mt Barney Lodge said, “We didn’t see this bushfire and the lasting effects of it coming, and we needed to quickly create a reason for people to visit the region”.

Although property and infrastructure at Mt Barney Lodge and other businesses was protected by the efforts of a co-ordinated Rural Fire Service approach, there is an ongoing interruption of business and loss of forward bookings as a direct result of the bushfires. A local fire adjacent to Mt Barney was started a lightning strike on October 17, and eventually burnt 20,000ha of land over 5 weeks. There have also been multiple bushfires across the Scenic Rim and adjacent shire areas. Visitors to the region have cancelled or delayed their visits because of the ongoing firebans, smoke, above-average temperatures, lack of water due to the drought in creeks and waterholes for recreation, blanket closure of all National Parks, and because of fear of the unprecedented bushfire events.

These unforeseen events have led to a dramatic drop in tourism visitation across the Scenic Rim, as the brand promise of “scenic” was unable to be met. Mt Barney Lodge estimates it’s November-January trade has dropped by 90%, and this loss has a flow-on effect to local employment and purchasing ability. The bushfire experience of Mt Barney Lodge is not unique to just them, it has been experienced by many businesses in the Scenic Rim.

To create a new reason to visit, Mt Barney Lodge has been the driving energy behind a collaboration of local artists who have donated their works for the whole month of January, a community group and the Scenic Rim Regional Council, to bring a concept of a sculpture walking trail to reality.

Local artists Sally Hart, Christopher Trotter, Colleen Lavender, Antone Bruinsma and Therese Flynn-Clarke have installed sculptures that reflect their own unique style, including giant woven nets, upcycled old machinery, laser cut steel, sandstone sculpture and fibre art.

2016 winner of the SWELL Scultpure Award Alicia Lane and Warwick-based Errol Irvine are also included because of their past connections to Mt Barney Lodge. They both have used upcycled materials in very different ways.

The walking trail to view the onsite Summer SILHOUETTE Sculptures can also be accessed at any time, but is best done after 5pm when conditions are perfect for walking and photography. The sculptures are installed at various scenic points on the property, and they are framed by the silhouette of Mt Barney. They are also uplit until 8.30pm each night throughout January. Visitors are invited to bring a picnic, or to stay overnight to experience the solar light handrail that connects the sculptures at night. A $15pp entry fee also covers viewing the scenic sculpture trails and a tour booklet.

Boonah Organisation for a Sustainable Shire (BOSS) is supporting the community event “Sculptures + Sunday Session” on January 26 at Mt Barney Lodge, where there will be acoustic live music from 2pm-7pm a pop-up outdoor café with outdoor lounges, local food and a licenced bar.  Proceeds from the bar will fund the BOSS Community in Transition group who are committed to adaptation and working together as a community to respond to the effects of climate change.

Colleen Lavender, known for her recent steel installation at the northern entry of Beaudesert, has created a work from laser cut steel that looks like a native-phoenix rising from the ashes. The message of hope and recovery could not be clearer.

Enquiries on the sculpture trail and the Sunday Session can be directed to Tracey 55443233 or from the @mtbarneylodge Facebook Event page.

About Keer Moriarty 62 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.