Kingaroy Heritage Museum volunteers Lindsay Gardiner and Pam Kerr (2nd from right) showed Cr Kirstie Schumacher, Cr Roz Frohloff and Cr Danita Potter the artwork, which celebrates the centenary of the peanut industry in the South Burnett
Artist Robyn Dower took nine months to create the painting’s five scenes

September 14, 2020

A presentation ceremony will be held at Kingaroy’s Heritage Museum soon to officially celebrate an artwork that’s been delighting Museum visitors for the past six months.

Tingoora artist Robyn Dower’s five-piece painting celebrating the centenary of the South Burnett’s peanut industry was given pride of place at the Museum in March this year.

The painting separates the Museum’s two main exhibition spaces, and is book-ended by two plaques that explain its significance.

Robyn said she was approached to do the series of paintings in mid-2019.

The project was originally planned to be executed on five one metre square boards to mark the industry’s centenary in 2020, showing the history of peanut farming from horse-drawn implements used in the 1920s through to modern machinery in use today.

However, the painting quickly grew in size and scope to make it more visually appealing.

“The final work spans more than 8.3 metres,” Robyn said.

“The size of the pieces made them difficult to move around and work on, not to mention the space they took up around my house.”

Robyn used original photos – mostly old black and white prints – as source material for the five scenes, often marrying up different photos to create a finished design.

She also got real people to model for her in some of the pictures to ensure each scene correctly reflected the conditions of the times.

In all, the work took almost nine months to complete.

It was finally hung in the museum in March just as the COVID-19 lockdown came into force, preventing any official unveiling ceremony.

“This project was a great challenge with lots of lessons learned,” Robyn said.

“It is now up in place and while it wasn’t the easiest thing I have done, I’m very proud of the finished product.”

The South Burnett Regional Council now plans to hold an official ceremony to honour Robyn’s artwork, but the exact date has yet to be determined due to rolling pandemic restrictions.

However, Communities portfolio chair Cr Danita Potter believes this will occur “fairly soon”.

Last week, Cr Potter, Cr Kirstie Schumacher and Cr Roz Frohloff paid a visit to the Museum to inspect the painting and talk with volunteers about the public’s reaction to it.

Cr Potter said she was very impressed with the artwork, and was sure most people would be as well.

The size of the 8.5 metre painting made working on it difficult … this photo shows the work mounted on Robyn’s verandah in Tingoora prior to being moved to its new home (Photo: Robyn Dower)
The centenary piece hangs in pride of place at the Kingaroy Heritage Museum over the archway separating the two main exhibition spaces

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