Lockhart’s festival brings the spirit of the bush to life

The unique soul of the Australian bush came to life at Lockhart’s annual Spirit of the Land Festival.

Held in conjunction with the Lockhart Picnic Races, the festival offers visitors a blend of entertainment, activities, food and exhibitions.

The highlight for many visitors is the $10,000 farm art sculpture competition, which this year attracted more than 40 sculptures.

Stuart Taylor of Deniliquin took out top honours with his two larger-than-life sculptures of two magpies, which he called Magpie Song.

The National Farm Art Sculpture Award is handed out for sculptures that “showcase and capture” the uniqueness of the Australian landscape, flora, fauna, and lifestyle of living on the land.

These sculptures can be created from any medium the artist sees as representing “farm art”. 

Luke Trevaskis, who oversaw the entries, was pleased with the high standard.

“We’d like to see even more entries next year,” he said.

Organising committee president Peter Veneris said the festival was continuing to grow in popularity, with a positive response to new events added in 2017.

Mr Veneris, who notched up his first festival as president, said crowds on Saturday had outstripped previous years.

“It went really well. From all accounts it was very successful,” he said.

“The 2017 Spirit of the Land Festival has been a great success with a huge crowd viewing the exhibitions and enjoying the festivities.

“It is clear from our initial assessment, based on admissions to the exhibition areas, that the crowd was significantly higher than last year. A number of stallholders reported running out of stock.

“It's a testament to the people who have worked very hard in previous years to develop the festival to what it is today and hopefully we can continue to build on that foundation.

“There was once again a high quality of sculptures, artwork and photography submitted which continues to be a main attraction and underpins the success of the festival.”