Creating stars helps with healing

A simple craft activity is helping heal victims of violence in our region.

The Million Stars to End Violence project seeks to weave one million stars to be displayed as an installation at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year.

Locally it has been driven by the Mackay, Isaac, Whitsunday Embracing 2018 Regional Steering Committee and the Mackay Women’s Centre.

This world-wide project was started by Maryann Talia Pau in an effort to find a positive outcome after the rape and murder of Jill Meagher in 2012.

“Each star demonstrates an individual commitment to show kindness and the one million star installation will be a peaceful and powerful statement that demonstrates our ability to create positive change together,” said Maryann Talia Pau.

Supported by council and BASEarts Mackay, the local star-weaving effort has now surpassed 20,000 stars.

They are on display in Caneland Central’s Arts Hub, across from Jamaica Blue.

And according to supervising artist Jodie Connolly from BASEarts, something special has happened during the weaving.

“The colours of the shop, with the stars displayed, grab lots of people’s attention and they often stay to weave a star,” Ms Connolly said.

“Then, as they weave and I tell them all about the project and its aims, they often open up about their own experiences with abuse, and it’s often the people you’d least expect – from school children to grandparents, and men,” she said.

“Many of them stay and keep weaving and often come back – I think they find it healing and therapeutic.”

Community Engagement Committee chair Cr Fran Mann said it was amazing to see how one person’s negative experience had been turned into a positive project for change all over the world.  

“Council is glad to be able to supply the ribbon for the local star-weaving effort,” Cr Mann said.

“We supplied enough ribbon to make at least 20,000 stars and we’ve already surpassed that.

“A lot of people have contributed their own ribbon and even used recycled materials.”

The Million Stars Project has grown into an international weaving movement, with stars being woven by communities in Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Europe and the USA.

Residents can get involved locally by calling into the Canelands Arts Hub (opposite Jamaica Blue), or you can contact the Women’s Centre by emailing  

The Creative Space at this year’s Greenmount Heritage Fair will also be open for people to make stars.

More about the project

People can learn to weave stars at any time by watching the tutorial video on These beautiful stars are symbols of light, courage and solidarity to end all forms of violence, including violence against women, bullying and racism. Everyone is welcome – everyone can be a star weaver. Stars are due July 31, 2017 for the Commonwealth Games installation.

Contact: Mackay Regional Council

Phone: 1300 MACKAY (622 529)

Published: 18 May 2017