Vikings to battle at new Eungella event

Published: 15 Jun 2021

The clamour of Vikings doing battle in full armour will echo throughout the Eungella township thanks to an exciting new event, which received council support this week.

The Eungella Ancient Arts and Crafts Fayre, planned for October this year, was awarded a $6808 Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) grant.

All up, as part of this funding round, 15 applications were approved to a total value of $66,678.

Projects funded included a Jason Chetcuti Covid Collection, comedy workshops, a children’s art camp at Greenmount and a pop culture event, Mack Pop Con.

RADF Committee chair Cr Fran Mann said the Eungella Ancient Arts and Crafts Fayre would be the first of its kind to be run in the Mackay region.

She said the fayre would feature weaving, spinning, bead making, natural dyeing, wood chopping, basket weaving, blacksmithing, equine drawing, a highland pipe band and dancing, indigenous dancing and didgeridoo playing.

“The fayre will feature about 20 stalls, 15 workshops and demonstrations, and a Mackay-based re-enactment troupe representing the Viking people from 9th to 13th century,” Cr Mann said.

“This troupe will give active fighting demonstrations in full armour, do rune castings, demonstrate making chainmail and display a camp set-up,” she said.

Beryl Turner, president of the fayre’s organising body, the Eungella Community Development Association (ECDA), said Eungella currently had a monthly market, but the Association envisaged an annual mega fair.

“We aim to promote Eungella as a hotspot for traditional, environmentally friendly and sustainable arts,” Ms Turner said.

Also receiving funding, to the value of $4323, was Thomas Dunbar Barry.

Mr Barry will use the funding to write and edit his life story which has all the trappings of a Hollywood movie.

He said the project would tell of how he left England as a teenager and fought in the 4th Royal Tank Regiment in World War II and then learnt Italian so he could serve behind enemy lines in Italy and aid the local resistance to hinder the advance of the Germans.

“I was captured by the Germans and when the war ended was found in a tiny hut in unspeakable conditions by Canadian soldiers,” Mr Barry said.

“I was hospitalised for six months, during which time I could do nothing for myself,” he said.

Following the war, Mr Barry struggled to fit back into society in England and ended up returning to Italy, where he was welcomed with open arms, before emigrating to Australia.

“One of the first jobs I got was as a model for Myers, as I thought this would help me to become known and find a lucrative career,” he said.

“Speaking Italian was my saviour, as I was employed to help new Italian migrants who were coming to Australia in droves. It was here I met my wife, Ann, who to this day is the only one I have been able to tell my whole story to.”

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the longstanding RADF program would help to boost Queensland’s plan for economic recovery, supporting artists and arts workers with employment opportunities through $4.2 million in funding for regional cultural projects.

“The Palaszczuk Government is investing $2.08 million in RADF for 2020-21 and an additional $2.13 million will be contributed by 59 councils across Queensland,” Minister Enoch said.

“Each year RADF showcases the extraordinary innovation of the arts and cultural sector in regional communities, delivers rich arts experiences and provides important professional opportunities for artists and arts workers,” she said.

Also receiving funding were:

  • Leah McLean – $4850 for Big Calm (concept development), an underway photography project
  • Jason Chetcuti – $8000 for a personalised Chetcuti collection in response to COVID-19
  • The Valley Theatrical Players – $3450 for Sounds of the Valley - Reconnecting our Community, a “local music soirée presenting local artists from the area to perform”
  • Mandy Brown – $7380 for Laughter IS the best medicine comedy workshops
  • Brooke Andrews – $812 for professional development of advanced glass working techniques
  • Mack Pop Con – $3100 to plan an accessible and inclusive pop culture event in 2022
  • Greenmount Homestead Art Camp – $5314 for a program for children to connect to local history, science, and nature through fun and engaging art experiences
  • Kynan Sanderson – $3600 for adapting visual arts designs into a clothing line
  • Lyn Laver-Ahmat – $6130 for a body of 2D artwork that depicts Regional Queensland
  • Mackay & District Pipe Band – $6647 to collect and record stories and experiences of past-and-present pipe band members that have contributed to Mackay's Scottish heritage
  • Janet Ambrose – $4000 for Under the Mango Tree, a new work by way of portraits and stories focusing on the multi-cultural community of Mackay
  • Sharon Ruhle – $850 to attend an Advanced Skills for Kiln Formed Glass workshop
  • Midge Point Craft Group – $2910 for a three-month arts and craft workshop program

The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.