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Bent not Broken – art project at Julia Creek

A regional collaborative arts projects provided opportunities for the community to connect whilst learning new skills.



Bent Not Broken was a regional collaborative arts project organised by the Bymount Creative Circle and delivered in north Queensland communities that has been impacted by floods in 2019.

Aimed at bringing locals together, artists Sue Pukallus (Wire N Rust) and Helen McLennan (H’s Hats) guided participants through the process of creating artworks using old and rusted farm materials including barbed wire, chicken wire and tin. A number of these damaged materials were left on properties following the devastating floods. 

A grant through the McKinlay Shire Council Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) supported four arts workshops in Julia Creek attended by more than 40 local participants.


When and where

June 2019, Julia Creek


Key stats

  • 2 Queensland artists/ arts workers employed
  • 4 workshops
  • 41 participants



$3,834 McKinlay Shire Council Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). RADF is a long-term partnership between the Queensland Government and local governments to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland. 



  • Learning new skills: Participants developed new creative skills and knowledge with which to complete creative arts projects during the workshops.



  • Opportunity for residents to connect and reduce isolation: Workshops were an opportunity for many participants to socialise and come together, building community connection and reducing isolation.

Loved the whole day and learning a new skill. Absolutely wonderful in every aspect. Great way to everyone to get together and share how we were feeling. The mental health support offered by these two tutors went above and beyond. To share their experiences and encourage others to do the same meant the world to me. Thank you for the council support and providing funding for this arts workshop. Participant


Learnings and reflections

Reflections from Sue Pukallus, artist and one of the coordinators of the workshops:

Many creative ideas were shared on further projects they could take on in their own time.

The opportunity for each participant to be able to step up and help each other was also important. This raised their self-esteem and made them all feel part of something wonderful.

The cross generation participants were also important. Mother and daughter working together. Mother and child. Many participants had not made a simple creative item in years. To see their smiles and take pride in their complete projects was precious.




This workshop was the best day I’ve had in a long time. Thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thank you to the local council for our financial support towards this day. The tutors were excellent. Very helpful, full of ideas and so very talented. – Participant

I totally loved every minute. My confidence was low but as we progressed I was calmer. The tutors were amazing. Such patience-- thank you so much for all the information you imparted – Participant.

Very good workshop. Lots of knowledge shared and encouragement of ideas to go on with. Both tutors were great and made things so easy with their easy to follow instructions. More functions like these, where rural ladies can come together for skills development would be great. Wonderful opportunity to increase ones self-esteem, mental well-being and support one another directly and indirectly. Thank you for the most fabulous day. I went home smiling.


Tips for others

Having the workshops in one central location worked well. By giving basic simple instructions and guidance all participants were able to successfully gain new skills and knowledge.


What next?

Sue and Helen have continued to provide their tours to other regional communities in 2020.


Find out more

Wire N Rust

H’s Hats