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.

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 2016 Scarecrow Festival

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

Scarecrow Map

Note: Entries for 2016 are not yet marked

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 Oct 21-Nov 12 this year.
  • Post the selfies on Facebook and hashtag #mvscarecrows
  • Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival on Facebook will post the selfies on its page.
  • Entrant with the most photos with different scarecrows by Nov 11 is the winner and collects $50. NB In the event of a tie, the decision is made at the discretion of the scarecrow committee.
  • A slideshow of selfies will be displayed at the scarecrow stall at the Mary River Festival on Nov 12.

Good Luck!

You can win $50 by taking a  photo of yourself with as many scarecrows as possible in the Mary Valley between Oct 24-Nov 14. Post the selfies on Facebook and hashtag #mvscarecrows

Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival will post the selfies on its Facebook page, and the entrant with the most photos with different scarecrows by Nov 13 is the winner and collects $50.

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A morning funny! ... See MoreSee Less

For us, free range is the only way to raise bread. And while our loaves are in the fields, roaming free, it’s the valour of our Volunteer Scarecrows that kee...

Rosa Huddy, Marjet Maxwell and 1 other like this

Marjet MaxwellLove the "carecrow" guy 🙂

2 months ago

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Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival is around the corner ... inspiration for you? Madeline Price Sophie Price Blair Price
The scarecrows have gone walkabout! Find out all about the annual Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival on the new website below.
Inspiration for a recycling them this year ...
Is this a scarecrow? Yes or no?! We are interested in your ideas why ...

Elaine Abbott, Cheryl Sullivan and 10 others like this

View previous comments

Mary Valley Scarecrow FestivalI think she is definitely a scarecrow...the crows would certainly be shaken by this amazing creature who looks as if she could come alive any moment!

6 months ago

Christopher HardwickDepends on how broad you want to go in defining a scarecrow. Humanity is doing this all of the time, altering and casting doubt on meaning.

6 months ago   ·  3

Emily CavanaghMaybe what you call a "living scarecrow".

6 months ago   ·  2

Christine BuckleyNo it's a fixed structure but it probably works!

6 months ago   ·  1

Suzette Olsongood use for cats claw vine

6 months ago   ·  1

Sally BatemanNo,but it is beautiful

6 months ago   ·  2

Meridy ScottElizabeth Nolan

6 months ago

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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: info@scarecrows.org.au

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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