Archibull Prize judging travels east to west

Week 2 Day 5 of judging saw 2014 Archibull Prize judge Wendy Taylor travel from the eastern suburbs of Sydney to Mt Anan in the West

First up was Little Bay Community of Schools entry Bloo Moo ‘Grass to Glass’ – ‘Have three serves of dairy and fly through your day’.

Bloo Moo is the result of a peer teaching and learning partnership across the five
Little Bay Community of Schools. Year 8 students from Matraville Sports High acted
as mentors, peer teaching the Primary students dairy content and art making techniques.

This is what Wendy had to say about Bloo Moo

Little Bay Community of Schools

“Blue Moo” is definitely a cow that could jump over the the moon.

Her wings are fabulous! Made from recycled plastic milk bottles, they soar from her sides and are a real statement feature. Her sponged blue skin highlights her painted patches, which tell the story of milk from ‘grass to glass’ as well as portraying her as a crazy, ‘extraordinary dairy’ cow.

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Next up was mentor school Matraville Sports High School Wendy said “Mattooo” is a study of contrasts.

She tells a subtle story of dairy from ‘farm to fridge’ through layers of contrast and pared back simplicity. Her hard black side is overlaid with delicate topographic mapping of NSW dairy farming areas, while her white side is a mass-produced fridge. Inside, is an exquisite stylised digestive diagram based on indigenous motifs and a high tech projection which tells the inside story of the dairy industry. She showcases complexity and simplicity.

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Next Wendy headed south west to Narellan to visit Elizabeth MacArthur High School

This is what Wendy had to say about their Archie they have named Susan

This “Susan” is not a lazy Susan or a Black-eyed Susan.

She is busy and vibrant. Her bold colours catch the viewer immediately and her tactile and interactive features invite you to touch. The growing grasses along her back and at her feet are a highlight and help to tell Susan’s story of the grain industry. Her beautifully painted head is a stand out.

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Archibull Prize judging goes south of the border to ‘Mexico’

Week 2 Day 3 of  Archibull Prize 2014 judging saw Wendy fly from Newcastle to Melbourne where she visited Kilbreda College and the Emerson Special School

This is what Wendy had to say about the schools she visited in Melbourne

First up was Kilbreda College

“Hidey” has nothing to hide! She has a very simple and subtle story – showing a pictorial of different grains an1d their textures. It is her vibrant bands of eye-popping colour overlaid with the intricate patterns of the grains which give her visual appeal. The balance of colour, pattern and texture is very well done. Her living grain base is a nice contrast and adds to the sense of balance.

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Follow Kilbreda College Archibull journey via their blog here  and their video

From Kilbreda College Wendy travelled to Emerson School.

Each year with the support of a different organisation Art4Agriculture is able to support a school who isn’t able to undertake the full program but are passionate about sharing the great stories of farmers and farming with their students. This year Emerson Special School was chosen to be that school and wow what a special group of people they are ( students and teachers)

Emerson School is a specialist school located in Dandenong, Victoria, catering to students with mild intellectual processing difficulties. From an initial enrolment of less than 100 students in 1973, Emerson has grown to be one of the leading providers of specialist education in Victoria, with 100 staff now supporting 400 students to achieve their potential.

A proud and vibrant member of the local community, Emerson prides itself on being a school of first choice – not a school of last resort.

The Emerson community exists to provide a first rate education to all who walk through its doors. Emerson School is comprised of our Junior School (students aged 5-11 years), Middle School (12-15 years) and Senior School (16-18 years). Class sizes range from 8 students per class in the Junior School to 16-19 in the Middle and Senior Schools. These small classes ensure that programs are able to be tailored to individual students’ requirements. Source

This is what Wendy had to say about Emerson Public School

“Daisy” is very well named. She is cosy and comfortable and warm. Her knitted coat has loads of texture and appeal, with the felted daisies being the standout feature. Her stylish hat and gorgeous eyelashes complete the picture. Her story of wool is simple and thorough and perfectly encapsulates the breadth of the learning done by the students.

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Watch the wonderful video they have made of their  journey with Daisy to learn about wool

The Archibull Prize judging see Moos in the Museum

Week two Day two of the 2014 Archibull Prize judging found Wendy at the magnificent Newcastle Museum

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Newcastle district primary schools and Maitland Grossman High School put on a wonderful display of Archie’s at the museum for both Wendy and the public

This is what Wendy had to say

Hamilton North Public School’s “Mr Archiwool” is so warm and well wrapped up!

He is clever, vibrant and tactile. His subtle story of the Wool industry is well thought out and well expressed and his links to Bessie (their Young Farming Champion) are beautiful. His sense of fun and playfulness are undeniable. He perfectly captures the fact that simplicity can be a very effective tool.

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Is “Mabel”  from Maitland Grossmann High School a pull-along toy? Or is she a pair of jeans?

Her subtle worn-looking base coat is the star. It ties all her elements together into a homogeneous design, while adding a layer of depth. The pull along toy concept is clever and quirky, while the denim look (especially around the neck) is effective and creates a fine layer of detail. She tells a quiet and subtle story of cotton in a very expressive way.

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Threadrick McBobbin from Bolwarra Public School is a character.

From his highly original name to his stylish hat, skintight jeans and buttoned-up shirt, this little cow is big on personality. His seasonal pictorial of the cotton industry is simple, beautiful and informative, while his furrowed base and little trolley of products complete the story. He is charming and vibrant and very expressive.

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“WiriChick”  from Wiripaang Public School is in a class of its own!

She is unique in just about every aspect – she is alone in representing the egg and poultry industries this year; she has used projections (which is a first for the Archibull Prize); and the sheer number of different techniques explored on her surface make her stand out. The colourful mosaic surface is wonderful, as is her crushed eggshell face and feathered legs.

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Archibull Prize judging takes us to China

Day 1 of Week 2 of the 2014 Archibull Prize judging saw artwork judge Wendy Taylor head west towards the Blue Mountains

First off the rank was Hurlstone Agricultural High School

This is what Wendy had to say about their Archie who they have called Ni Cow

“Ni Cow isn’t a bull in a china shop. She is a cow from China.

Everything about her has layers of meaning and complexity and has been well thought out. She is well balanced visually, and takes an interesting viewpoint with both her sustainability message -that of financial sustainability -as well as her viewpoint of the dairy industry. She is relevant and intrinsically unique. Her delicate patterning and limited colour palette perfectly reflect the concept. No detail has been missed and every component adds to the total picture.

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Next up was Hawkesbury High School

Wendy said “Baa-Baa Rella” has the best horns!

They are red and white striped and link perfectly with her name and elements of the wool industry (Barber’s Pole Worms). She shows us two very different views of the wool industry in Australia. One side is vibrant, lush and reminiscent of the paintings of Tom Roberts, while the other side is a graphic and complex collage. The simple map on her side is a great element which complements her story well.

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Then Wendy headed back to Caringbah where she visited James Ruse Agricultural High School

Would you like to see inside the Dairy industry? Or inside “Archie”?

The hero element of Archie is the story itself. All elements of the industry are covered in her concept, with the process line from paddock to product being the ‘inside’ story. The working milk pump is a star, as is her interactivity. Her vibrant colours stand out and she is fun and playful. She has features all over to make the viewer smile.

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Archibull Prize judging week 2 We’ve been everywhere man

Week 2 of the Archibull Prize judging saw Wendy travel from the Central Coast to the Blue Mountains then to Melbourne and then to the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

Wendy’s visit north attracted great interest from the media that included print, radio and TV ( I will endeavour to  get copies to add to this blog)

First off the mark was Northlakes High School where Wendy and I were highly entertained by the Archie team who designed and created Miss Jay Jay

This is what Wendy had to say about Miss Jay Jay

To anyone who studies art, “Miss Jay Jay” has many elements that should be familiar.

Her appropriated artworks are instantly recognisable, and all work together to tell her clever story. Chagall, Picasso, Arkley, Warhol and Jeffrey Smart provide a vibrant canvas to showcase the beef industry. Her visual appeal and her connection to her community are shouted to the viewer, and her layers of complexity shine.

Check out Miss Jay Jay’s journey here

Meet the clever team

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Archibull Prize judging shows the Beef capital salute the grain industry

Week one Day 4 of 2014 Archibull Prize saw judge Wendy fly to Rockhampton from Townsville then catch the next  whirlwind flight to Brisbane

First of the rank was Rockhampton Girls Grammar School’s bovine masterpiece “Hora” is a goddess.

Her simple and vibrant banding is beautifully complemented by her intricate overlaid patterns. Her unique view of the grain industry and its origins and export patterns is clever and highly original. The consistent golden links to ancient civilizations works well and gives a sense of cohesion and character. Her tactile wings create a beautiful sense of balance.

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Wendy then caught the Archibull Prize Express to catch up with the dynamo Margie Keates and her team at Bulimba State School where there was no mistaking “Miss Steak”.

She is a striking mix of city and country and tells us about the Grain industry through collaged imagery and texture. The student faces looking out the cityscape windows is a beautiful and unique element. It captures their involvement in the project and their enthusiasm for her.

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Week One Day Three Sees the Art judge travel to the Burdekin

Day 3 of Week One of the 2014 Archibull Prize official judging tour saw art judge Wendy Taylor fly to Townsville and cross the crocodile infested Burdekin Rive to visit Charters Towers and judge the cotton themed masterpieces created by All Souls St Gabriels and Cloncurry State School

Check out the students artworks and see what Wendy has to say

All Souls St Gabriels Charters Towers 

“Cotton Eyed Josie” is all bull.

A mechanabull, a technologibull, a sustainabull and a recyclabull. This is a cow that has taken to the air, to tell a story of cotton. The unique story is told through stylised patterns and vibrant colour, all anchored in the cotton industry. Her aerial viewpoint intrigues, while at the same time she is anchored to the earth and the industry which inspired her.

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The students at All Souls would also like to share with you some of their special highlights from their journey

Women of the World – QRRRWN – Jane Milburn

Students involved: senior female students

 Martin’s Documentary 

Students involved: 9/10 Arts (Music and Media)

Cotton By the Numbers

Students involved: 10 advanced Maths

Me, Myself and Cotton

Students involved: Chloe Campbell

Reporting on sustainability of irrigation and genetics of cotton

Students involved: 11 AgHort


Students involved: 8 Health

Power Point Presentations – Growth Cycle and Genetics

Students involved: 10 Science

Cloncurry State School is a further seven hours drive down the road from Charters Towers and we send them our heart felt appreciation for bringing their cow to All Souls where it is proudly on display in the front foyer of the school

Cloncurry State School

“ISAbella” quite literally tells the viewer a story.

The story of cotton is shouted through facts about the industry drawn on denim patches and through the gorgeous myth about the farmer and the nymph. A picture is clearly painted through text, to showcase the industry and to highlight its sustainability features.

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Archibull Prize Judging Tour goes to the Atherton Tablelands

The Archibull Prize judging tour Week 1 Day 2 saw our well-travelled judge Wendy Taylor fly from Sydney to Cairns and drive to the Tablelands Regional Gallery to see the masterpieces created by the four schools participating in far north Queensland

This is what Wendy had to say about the bovine artworks produced by the four schools in the region

Atherton State High School

“Cornealus”, not surprisingly, is all about Corn.

A grain industry story is told, while nestling beneath the recognisable skyline of the Atherton Tablelands. The striking contrast of the black and white Holstein base being overtaken by twining corn stalks grabs attention. Their love of their local community is obvious, as is their connection to the maize industry.

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You can hear the song they wrote for the competition here

You can read their blog here

Mareeba State High School

“Savannah” definitely hails from the remote gulf areas of Australia. Her flat desert browns are beautifully balanced by the soft hints of colour on her landscape. She depicts the beef industry from dawn to dusk, showcasing the people involved in it, as well as the animals. The fascinating techniques used create a subtle and beautiful effect, which perfectly complements the colour palette.

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You can read their blog here

Malanda State High School

This beef “Patty” has definitely gone green.

Sustainability in the beef industry is the theme for Patty and it shows. She has pasture grasses growing out of her back, and trees growing from her horns. She is textural and informative. Not many beef Patties make you want to touch them, but this beef Patty definitely does.

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See the students Archibull journey here

Ravenshoe State School

This is one “A-maizing” Cow.

The ‘yellow brick road’ made from corn, is the hero. The time and care taken for this one element are astonishing. It weaves around her, taking the viewer on a journey through the Grains industry from the paddock to the pub (and the bake’rye’ and ‘corn’er shop). In this case, all roads don’t lead to Rome; they either lead to or from the silo.

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Archibull Prize Art Judge Tour Takes Off

The quest for the winning Archie has begun in schools across Australia’s eastern states, with the 2014 Archibull Prize judging tour hitting the road this week.

Archibull art judge Wendy Taylor will travel more than 6000km during the next four weeks, visiting 40 participating schools across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Thousands of primary and secondary students have spent the past two terms creating extraordinary and inspired original artworks on life-size, fiberglass cows through the Archibull Prize competition.

Wendy has been part of the Archibull Prize judging team since its inception and says the level of effort, collaboration and excitement from this year’s students is phenomenal and the Archies are some of the best yet.

“It is going to be a very tough job deciding who will take out the title of Grand Champion,” Wendy says. “Not only are the Archie artworks remarkable, but the ideas and inspiration behind them blow me away.”

Wendy Taylor is an architect and designer who, alongside her architect husband Craig, established red blue architecture + design. The couple has designed the Central District Exhibit at the Sydney Royal Easter Show for 23 years – taking out multiple awards during this time.

Week 1 saw Wendy visiting Queensland and visit Queensland she did

Day 1 looked like this Sydney to Moree to Goondiwindi to Moree to Sydney but boy was it worth it.


This is what Wendy had to say about the three bovine materpieces she saw on the 1st day of judging

First up was Goondiwindi State High School

“St Francesca” (the Holey Cow) has her head in the clouds and cotton on the brain.

She is clever and sophisticated, and encapsulates the essence of the cotton industry beautifully. Her ‘irrigation wings’ add an extra layer of intricacy and complexity, as well as a wonderful sculptural quality. Her concept -which appears deceptively simple at first glance- is the star. There is layer after layer of meaning, which forms a cohesive whole.

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Check out this great little video which shares the students and their Holey Cow’s journey

Next up was Goondiwindi State School

“Archy Boll” tells both the story of the cotton process from growing to gin as well as the story from plant to product. Both sides are vibrant and tactile and are instantly appealing. Her dazzling yellow side is the stand-out for me with its delicate pictograms and tactile jeans!

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And then St George State High School pulled out all stops to deliver their magnificent Archie in style

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“IPM” makes your skin feel like it is crawling with bugs!

She gives the viewer a wonderful pictorial story of the school’s local area, while telling the story of sustainability in the cotton industry. The Balonne River wraps around her, giving the viewer a guided tour of the community. All over her, ladybugs weave their magic, leaving trails of fact about the cotton industry. She is intricate, clever, vibrant and fun.

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Follow the students journey on their blog here

Wow what a great start You can see why Wendy is so excited

Stepping into a career in agriculture. Lets firstly dispel the myths

One of the constants that crop up whenever I attend an industry event and the participants are asked what they believe are the biggest issues in agriculture we should address,invariably concerns over aging farmer populations and the problem of attracting young people to the agrifood and fibre sector are at the top of the list.

There are a few serious misconceptions we need to address first

Firstly Myth 1 Agriculture’s much touted ‘Aging Farmer Population’ problem

There are a number of great articles that put our so-called aging farmer population into perspective

  1. Mick Keogh in The Myth of the Aging Farmer and well explained by Beef Central here

In the flood of recent economic analysis detailing the opportunities that the Asian Century will provide for Australian agriculture, one common issue identified as a potential limiting factor has been the average age of Australian farmers.

The major problem with this analysis is that by comparing the age of farmers with the average age of all other workers, a very distorted picture emerges of farmers.

2.  Neil Lane in ‘Myths and Legends – Dairy farmer average age’ See  here

What the statistics don’t show is the portion of decision making that the owner of the business shares with the next generation – be they family, worker, manager, or sharefarmer. If for example the decision making on a farm is shared  between a 60 year old and a 30 year old then it could be argued that the average age of the farmers is 45 years old.

3.  Neil Barr in ‘Where are all the young farmers’ Report prepared for RIRDC. The summary can be downloaded here.

Neil in fact discovered that Australia has a competitively young agriculture workforce

Secondly Myth 2 The mindset that thinks you have to own the farm to farm the farm.

I recently had a conversation with current chair of the NSW Farmers Young Farmers Council about their initiative to set up a Young Farmer Finance package See here

Minister Hodgkinsons reply was

I am committed to establishing some kind of a finance scheme for young farmers, but only if it is sustainable and cost-effective.

Whilst I salute the passion and the team behind this concept as a wise person once told me “politics is the art of the possible” and we must get realistic in agriculture.  Why should should the government fund young farmers to buy million dollar businesses (especially in a sector as volatile as ours) over any other young person in the community wanting to own their own  business.?

So if you don’t have to own the farm to farm the farm. How do you get into agriculture?

In the first instance we have to be clever and innovative about how we market the agrifood and fibre sector to potential entrants.

A great web based tool is Career Harvest which promotes a career in the food and fibre industry in this manner

We spend over a quarter of our lives at work. So why not make sure your career is one that’s innovative, inspiring and drives your passions globally?

Career Harvest is a hub for the most cutting-edge careers within the food and fibre industries. Whether you’re interested in feeding the world, adapting to climate change, developing the environment or managing future energy sources, this site helps create clearer pathways for you to harvest your agricultural career.

Choose a career that ignites leadership. Choose a career that feeds the world. Choose a career in Food and Fibre.It’s your global opportunity.

 Taking the next step and recognising there is a career in food and fibre from A to Z with multiple entry points ( and industry crossover opportunities)  initiative the creative team behind Career Harvest will be launching a Career Map early next year. The career map will focus around the broader issues facing food and fibre, and be cross sector and cover careers in production right through to the processing stage. The map’s aim is to encourage thought around what roles people might play, and look at broader opportunities, rather than stepping out defined career paths.  The map will cover a wide range of primary sectors including but not exclusive to Horticulture, livestock, cropping, Dairy, Intensive vegetables and also the more expansive list of post farm gate options.

 In the meantime I would love to share this awesome career pathway publication called  Stepping Stones from the Australian dairy industry with you.

Stepping Stones

After been made aware of this new initiative Stepping Stones I immediately shared it with the current NSW Farmers Young Farmers Council committee

Chair Josh Gilbert had this to say

Dairy Australia have just launched a publication that is creating the Stepping Stones for a better agricultural future- so why aren’t we sharing it with the world and shouting it from the rooftops?

Last week, Lynne shared this exciting new document from Dairy Australia that illustrates ‘career pathways for new and current employees in the Tasmanian Dairy Industry’. Instantaneously, I was impressed!

What fascinated me most when I first saw this document was the great, positive imaging of the industry, important information shared in an exciting way and mostly, the package provided a plan. The guide actively encourages users to start a career in the dairy industry, showing the steps involved and where this field can take them.

The publication explores the many facets of dairying in Australia and actively promotes the benefits of each occupation- rather than just saying that you would have a lot of fun doing it. It highlights the steps needed to be taken in order achieve a long lasting career in dairy, rather than seeing it as purely a job.

This is a document we should be sharing with the world, especially to school aged children who may or may not understand that the dairy industry in Australia is vibrant and exciting. It should also be sent to our current farmers, highlighting some further opportunities that are out there for them in the industry and providing a road map as to how to get there. It is these thought provoking ideas and tips that encourage change and long term prosperity.

Dairy Australia must be congratulated on this resource, while the other sectors strongly motivated to create something similar. If we are to continue encouraging young entrants into the field, it is publications such as these that need to be created and shared.

Its time for agriculture to stop worrying about the so called aging workforce, young people like our Young Farming Champions many of whom don’t come from farming backgrounds are excited about agriculture.

As the forward in Stepping Stones says

Career progression and pathway planning is the key to reaching your career goals…….

And remember, sometimes planning your pathway may seem daunting, so break it into pieces and focus on each goal ahead, one step at a time

Its time for agriculture to start creating more great resources like Stepping Stones that not only give great advice to people who want a career in dairy, how to move into share farming and leasing but also provides great advice to people who want to transition out of the industry workforce but not necessarily leave the farm and how they can support young entrants