Face painting was popular at the Mary River Festival.
Face painting was popular at the Mary River Festival.

Thousands support river festival

MORE than 1000 visitors came along to the the Mary River Festival at Kandanga on the weekend.

Stall-holders reported a steady stream of visitors throughout the day. It seemed as if most people came for an hour or more but numbers were building up towards evening prior to Environmental Awards presentations and a concert. Stall-holders of all descriptions, ranging from many food outlets, community conservation groups and some commercial enterprises, provided plenty for visitors to see and talk to.

A continual music stage show and wandering entertainers gave people plenty to listen to while they sat and relaxed. The finale of the festival was the presentation of the inaugural Mary River Environmental Awards.

Awards organiser Jane Davisson said there were 29 entries in six categories.

“Avery good result considering it is the first time and that the entry, judging schedule was a bit cramped,” she said.

Ms Davisson said that there were 13 entries in the habitat restoration section.

Due to time constraints judging was based on information supplied by those nominating the entrants.


The winners in the habitat restoration class were: Wonga graziers Gillian, John and Yvonne Crossley for work on Cats Claw control and riparian rehabilitation. Highly commended in that section were Glenda Pickersgill and Marc Russell.

In the river research category: Steve Burgess won for his work on pool structures in the river and for the widespread dissemination of the results of that ground breaking research.

The community education award went to the Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee for its quality work over a decade to provide baseline water quality data as part of the Water Watch program.

Ian McKay won the river recreation award for conducting and organising the Brown Water Classic each year for the past 20 years. This event is conducted using Black bean seed pod boats in a race down a section of the river.

Harmony Douwes’ dedication in the No Dam battle and her costumes and fairies saw her take out the youth innovation award.

The final award went to the northern end of the river where Tracey Britton, of what was formerly Wide Bay Water, won sustainable water management award for work on leak detection in urban water supply systems.

Ms Davisson said the success of this year’s awards has led to planning being already underway for next year.

Section winners received a small trophy made by regional artist Keith Gall, featuring either a dolphin, a lungfish, a Mary river turtle, giant barred frog, dugong or a Mary River cod; all iconic species that live in the Mary River catchment and Sandy Straight.

Festival organisers were pleased with the event, given it was their first, but said plans were already in place to iron our a few problems ahead of next year’s festival.

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