Susan Smith, Claire Kapernick and Ros Heit inspect Wondai’s new fairy lights at sunset … the $3000 project was entirely funded by the Wondai Country Running Festival and Wondai Regional Art Gallery’s volunteers

June 6, 2022

Drivers who pass Wondai’s Timber Museum after sunset will be treated to something special from now on.

Late last week, South Burnett Regional Council’s parks and gardens staff installed solar fairy lights on two large eucalypts near the museum.

The lights now twinkle over Gordon McKell Park at night, firing up soon after sunset and staying lit until dawn next day.

The unusual project was funded by the Wondai Country Running Festival, which is currently gearing up for its fifth outing on June 25-26, and the Wondai Regional Art Gallery.

South Burnett Regional Council workers did the installation.

Running Festival committee member Ros Heit said after four successful outings, the Festival had built up some spare cash in its bank account and wanted to do something that would enhance the town’s appeal for residents and tourists.

The Wondai Regional Art Gallery also had some spare funds they had built up from running the monthly Wondai Markets.

Both groups had been inspired by other towns on the coast that light their parks up at night, and quickly agreed this was an ideal town beautification project that fitted their budget.

They approached Council with the idea, and Mayor Brett Otto and Cr Kathy Duff said they both saw value in it, too.

As the ideal trees for the project were on Council land, the Mayor arranged for Council’s Parks and Gardens staff to mount the lights on the trees.

The LED fairy lights are solar-powered and have a sensor to detect sunrise and sunset so their operation is completely automatic.

On Friday night after the installation was finished, Ros and fellow Running Festival committee members Richard and Susan Smith, Claire Kapernick, and Margaret and Winston Burrows took an after-dark inspection tour to see how they looked.

“This is absolutely stunning,” Winston said.

“I think it’s gloriously impressive and just what Wondai needed.”

Ros said the group hopes to add another few trees to the display soon but for maximum impact they had to be the right sort of trees.

“The lights need to be mounted out of reach so they can’t be interfered with, and the trees need to have bare branches so the lights get maximum exposure,” she said.

“The trees in Coronation Park have very dense foliage and are fairly short, so we had to rule those out.”

Ros said the groups would like to light up another two Wondai trees, and possibly something in Tingoora and Wooroolin as well.

“I think this will make the South Burnett just that bit more special for our visitors and residents,” she said.

“The technology is out there and it’s inexpensive and reliable, so why not use it?”

A view of Gordon McKell Park from Wondai’s roundabout after dark, looking south towards Kingaroy … the park now presents as a night-time fairyland to passing motorists
Wondai Running Festival committee members Richard and Susan Smith, Claire Kapernick, Ros Heit and Margaret and Winston Burrows inspected the finished installation on Friday night

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables


2 Responses to "Festival Helps Light Up Wondai"

  1. All that can be said is “absolutely fan-bloody-tastic”; really it is! The person or group that thought it up and made it happen should be really proud of the themselves.

    What is more praiseworthy is that there was very minimal council funding in getting the attractive lights up, which is something that cannot be said of the tree in the roundabout ie. no traffic control etc used and no disruption whatsoever for anyone travelling.

    I’m looking forward to some more. There is a tall, healthy skinny tree on east side of highway across from Santa Claus Lane that would be a good candidate for lights which could be seen from a long way in both directions and be a good “welcome to town” from the Murgon side.

  2. I agree. This is a simple and inexpensive way to add some real after-dark sparkle to a town, and could easily be extended to other South Burnett towns as well. Congratulations to everyone involved!

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