History of the Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival
The inaugural Maleny Scarecrow Festival occurred in 1998 with the concept of a community event 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, to initiate a celebration of creativity through community involvement, having realized that the breathtaking emerald landscape of Maleny was the perfect setting for these incredible characters.
Lyn then sought assistance from Bob Burns, professional event consultant and 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), especially due to the social pressure placed on the community during the fight against the Queensland State Government over their 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) to help heal the wounds left behind by the bitter confrontations of the past few years. 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.
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)