Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival 2017-04-04T18:24:37+00:00


History of the Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival

The inaugural Maleny Scarecrow Festival was a community event in 1998 that would celebrate the unique rural character of Maleny through the creation and display of scarecrows.

Since ancient times, scarecrows have been used throughout the world, not only to protect crops, but also in the belief that their presence would increase fertility and enrich the harvest. Lyn Fellowes was inspired by this artistic form of cultural expression. She sought assistance from Bob Burns, director of the Australian Festival & Cultural Events Group. With a small group of dedicated supporters, they committed themselves to developing a festival that would enhance community identify and compliment the rural landscape. The community responded enthusiastically by creating the magic and sharing the experience. Above all, the scarecrows touched everyone’s heart.

As time went by, the festival spread down the Mary Valley, through Conondale and Kenilworth. It had a break during the mid “naughties” (around 2006 I think), mainly due to the pressure placed on the community during the fight against the Queensland State Government over the ill fated Traveston Crossing Dam proposal.

In late 2009, the dam proposal was quashed by the Federal Government and the local community then set about reviving the festival (as the Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival). This was well received and towns from Crystal Waters in the south to Lagoon Pocket in the north rolled up their sleeves and created their querky creations a plenty. Thus the festival was re-established.


My Scarecrow

By… Kaili Parker-Price

IMB14 – Hans and Claudia

Kaili produced a video: the making of her scarecrow. View it below.

To find out more about our competition guidelines, how to enter and what to do…

Click Here

To download an entry form Click Here



T-shape skeleton and straw body
(Image: Kandanga Witch & Wizard)



Anything that is an original idea
(Image: Ghostly Gowns by Jan Watt)



Children’s entries – 5-15 years
(Image: The Wonky Donkey by Mary Valley Child Care)

Download Entry Form

Join in the fun and enter the Scarecrow Festival!

Download your entry form and then get on with the fun of making and displaying your 'crow
Download Entry Form

Scarecrow Map

Here are some of the locations for our fabulous 2016 entries. We are still adding new ones so check back again soon!

Snap a Selfie Competition

Snap a selfie with lots of scarecrows and win $50 in our Facebook comp! You must hashtag #mvscarecrows

  • Take a photo of yourself with as many scarecrows as possible in the Mary Valley between the festival dates each year.
  • Post the selfies on Facebook and hashtag #mvscarecrows
  • Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival Facebook will share the selfies on its page.
  • Entrant with the most photos with different scarecrows by closing is the winner and collects $50. NB In the event of a tie, the decision is made at the discretion of the scarecrow committee.

Good Luck!

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Comment on Facebook

Natasha Vinen that's October sorted once again.

That is creepy

Stuart Wade

Casey Duncan

Updating the dates for the 2017 Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival. And we are looking for volunteers to help with promotion, registration etc ... is that you?
Announcing the dates for the 2017 Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival. And we are looking for volunteers to help with promotion, registration etc ... is that you? Mary Valley Notice Board
This could be inspiration for your next scarecrow ...

2015 Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival Winners



The Wonky Donkey

Owner: Mary Valley Child Care
35 William Street
Imbil 4570
Registration Centre: Imbil
Category: Childrens



Glen II – The Drear Crow

Owner: Crystal Rain Aylmer
2 Knobby Glen Rd
Kandanga 4570
Registration Centre: Kandanga
Category: Artistic




Owner: Lyn North
663 Kenilworth Skyring Creek Rd
Carters Ridge 4563
Registration Centre: Kenilworth
Category: Artistic

The Early Days

The Maleny Scarecrow Festival began in 1998 with the concept of a cultural event that would enhance Maleny’s distinctive rural qualities and offer a unique opportunity for the local and wider communities to express their creativity. It was difficult to imagine a more perfect setting for hundreds of artistic and whimsical scarecrows than the rolling emerald green hills of Maleny. The event was based on the creation and display of scarecrows throughout the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

The Festival coincided with the September school holidays to maximise the opportunity for families, the local community and visitors to participate in a wide range of activities.

In 1998 there were 110 scarecrows entered in the competition, with more than 200 on display throughout the region.

The organisers initiated relationships with other Scarecrow festivals throughout the world, including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe with the aim to seek international participation, with a view to expanding the cross-cultural elements available to the community.

The original organiser was Lyn Fellows, Festival Director 1998 to 2001. Lyn is a New Zealand born nationalised Australian living in the Conondale area with husband Ron. She was a wildlife carer, organic farmer, and writer, before embarking on a round the world trip by motor cycle.

More Background…

Written in 2002…

“Maleny has long been renowned for its talented artisans. When it comes to making scarecrows, it seems the entire community abounds with flair and imagination. Each year a widely diverse range of scarecrows takes to the streets and fields. Many are humorous, some quirky, a few even poignant, but they all gain our attention and most importantly, put a smile on our faces.

“We’ve seen kings, queens and cross-dressers, animals and of course, crows (birds), in many guises. Made from a range of materials, they are welded, woven, thatched and stuffed. From coffee cups to waiters, fairies to fallen angels, witches, magicians, doctors, patients, lawyers and judges.

“A great deal of wine was enjoyed before one character could be fashioned from the empty casks. Some scarecrows have earned a place on the couch when families couldn’t bear to be parted from them after the event. Much to the amusement of wedding guests last year, one bridal couple was accompanied by scarecrow counterparts dressed in identical attire!

“The bicycle-riding winner from 1998 continues to re-emerge annually, always in a different guise. A team of enthusiastic thatchers created the tallest scarecrow entirely from lemongrass and beside a dam stands a lady in a bright yellow dress, testament to the durability of papier-mâché.

“Each year, participation from around the world continues to grow. Japan is celebrating its own scarecrow festival in Yamagata, the thirtieth one to be held there. Last year, their organisers were so impressed by the Maleny scarecrows, they replicated several for their festivities. School children from Singapore, the USA and United Kingdom have honoured us annually by sending drawings, stories and even miniature scarecrows. This month, the Netherlands Contemporary Art Museum is presenting a scarecrow exhibition that includes posters from the Maleny Scarecrow Carnival.

“Schools, community and support groups, hospitals, retirement villages, even government departments, have taken the opportunity to create their own unique scarecrows and yard art for the Scarecrow Carnival. This year brings a whole range of new faces and characters. For a few weeks in September, families, friends, neighbours and colleagues, put aside their cares to share in the spirit of the Festival.

“From the very young to the elderly, whether they are the creators or the visitors, everyone is a participant who, for years to come, will remember the experience.

Contact Us

The valley wide festival is coordinated by Heinke Butt.

You can get in touch with Heinke on 0419 024 291 or email:

Or mail to:

c/- Mary Valley Arts Link,
PO Box 124,
Imbil, Qld, 4570.

Or use the form below:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message

Each town has their own committees that organise their local competition and choose their finalists:

Conondale/Crystal Waters:
Conondale Shop (main street)
Wendy Shalley 5494 4516

Kenilworth/Carters Ridge:
Kenilworth Information Centre (main street)
07 5446 0122
Kathy Mullins 0458 047272 or Peter Cuzak 5446 0211

Mary Valley Traders, 93 Yabba Rd, Imbil
Jo Robey 5484 5178

Kandanga Information Centre (main street)
07 5488 4605
Lyn Hughes 0409 382868

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