12 October 2022

Brolgas inspire the winning 'Bin Chooks' at Farm Art Sculpture Awards

| Chris Roe
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bin chook sculpture

Grahame Edmonds’ Bin Chooks claimed the National Farm Art Sculpture Award. Photo: Chris Roe.

A pair of humble ‘bin chooks’ stole the show at this year’s $10,000 National Farm Art Sculpture Awards in the Riverina village of Lockhart.

Ballarat artist Grahame Edmonds says he was surprised his life-sized metal art sculpture claimed the top gong.

“I just thought it would be something different to what other people would be putting in and, as it turned out, it was!” he says, adding that the brolgas painted on the town’s water tower provided accidental inspiration.

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“I thought they could be mistaken for bin chickens and thought I’d take a bit of a stab at putting their local bird in a bit of art.

“But as it turns out – different birds!” he says with a laugh.

The Riverina was spared the brunt of the forecast wild weather and sculptures coordinator Julie Lamont says the Spirit of the Land Festival was a great success.

“It was just such an amazing weekend and we had a lot of people who came back to the town for the school reunion on the Friday,” she says.

While the water rose and a few sculptures were partially submerged in the lagoon, hundreds of visitors poured through to take a look at the spectacular array that included echidnas, geese in flight, horses, a metal-head dragon, a giant Victoria Cross and – of course – the iconic bin chickens.

“It’s amazing how many people are really into bin chooks these days,” laughs Julie.

“It was beautifully done from recycled materials: the bin was corrugated iron, there was special stuff that was placed in there to add to the sculpture and one of the chooks had fish bones on the ground he was picking at.

“It was a bit different to what we’d normally have.”

Julie says the winning artwork will remain at the site for 12 months and several other sculptures were purchased and donated to the town by the Bendigo Bank, including the giant Victoria Cross.

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“It is a beautiful sculpture, it is huge and the detailing is amazing!”

The town boasts a growing collection of metal sculptures that are dotted around the streets and Julie says it’s bringing the visitors.

“It’s become a real attraction and more and more people are coming through Lockhart on the way to Wagga,” she says.

“They’re now turning off and stopping in the town because they want to come and check out the sculptures and our fantastic museum.”

Looking ahead to next year, Julie wants to share a peek behind the scenes.

“I thought the best part of the whole thing was the setting up,” she explains.

“Next year we’re going to try and video the set-up because it’s really interesting to see the sculptures coming in bits and then forming these wonderful creations.”


The bad weather held off for this year’s Spirit of the Land Festival. Photo: Supplied.

As for this year’s winner Grahame Edmonds, he is heading back to the shed to begin work on next year’s entry.

“It’s such a great event and the organisation out there is second to none,” he says.

“The people are all really super friendly, they know what they’re doing and it’s a lot of fun.”

Here’s a full list of the 2022 winners:

National Farm Art Sculpture Award – Bin Chooks, by Grahame Edmonds

Creative Cocky Award – Mother & Puggle Echidnas, by Catherine Sonnemann

Local Artist Award – Sandy the War Horse, by Max Thomas

Small Sculpture Award – Chaffy, by Cunningham Children

Youth Artist Award – Spike the Stegosaurus, by William Trevaskis

Free Spirit Award – Startled Geese, by Bob Teasdale

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