Animals on Bikes

Author: Centroc User
Date: July 22, 2011
Category: Community Events, Community Groups, Recycling

It’s quirky, it’s fun, it makes people laugh and it’s free. It’s also been exposed to 10 million prime time television viewers and continues to win accolades and support from around the country.

Animals on Bikes is not only a good idea, it has captured the imagination of thousands of travelers who now go out of their way to travel to Dubbo via Molong, Cumnock and Yeoval.

Christine Weston and friends put Cumnock on the map when they developed the Rent a Farmhouse scheme. Just as that idea gained national attention and helped an area suffering the effects of economic downturn and drought, so too has this latest creative project.

The 120km “Paddock Art” sculpture tourist trail showcases 45, two metre high sculptures and smaller letter boxes. Created by local farmers, Men’s Sheds, sculptors, kids and mums, there have been a number of unexpected benefits to the communities who got involved.

Christine Weston says that along with benefits to tourism and business the morale boost to farmers at the time was one of the best spin offs. “Many farmers created these paddock art sculptures to help boost morale and it was launched during drought so brought some happiness to some sad struggling stories.”

Buses of schoolchildren and caravaners join those joining the treck to see what has received so much attention, traffic on the route is estimated by Cabonne Council to have increased by 20%.

Christine says the idea came about from an idea she and Yeoval friend Debbie Blatch had. “We used to talk at playgroup and preschool and wanted to create a visual fantasy and eye-spy game for kids as their parents drive along Obley road on their way to the Dubbo Zoo, which is at the end of this road.”

Promotion is another strength of the projects Christine gets involved with. Animals on Bikes is promoted via a Website, e-newsletter, word of mouth, wrapping paper/map available through tourist information centres, postcards, and publicity through council and newspapers.

The most obvious support has come from the community who have been involved in making the sculptures. Prizemoney from local businesses has included Oilsplus and McDonalds and this year the Royal Agricultural Society has contributed significantly to include 10 high schools and 8 local show societies to create a sculpture.

The tourist map overlaps six councils and Animals on Bikes hopes for continuing support from each Local Government Area.

One of the longest sculpture installation in the world is planning on getting longer, the next competition is in November 2011 with the aim to double the sculptures from 45 to 100. New categories will include Best Endangered Apecies on a Bike, Best Farm Animal on a Bike and Most Humorous Animal on a Bike.

And perhaps best of all people laugh and smile their way through the creative journey of scrap waste which has cost nothing and been limited only by the bounds of imagination.

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