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5 August, 2021

Celebrating cassowaries

THE bird that time forgot will never be ignored by school students and residents of the beachside township of Mission Beach.

By Peter McCullagh

Bhu (Year 3) with the poster he designed. Photo: Carmen Pedroni

Signs dot the roadside as you drive into Mission Beach warning you of cassowaries and advising you to slow down and take care.

In preparation for this year’s Cassowary Festival, school students from Mission Beach State School have been busy designing colourful artwork advising motorists to ‘slow down’ and ‘watch out’ when driving on roads through cassowary country.

There’s an immense sense of community pride living in the ‘Cassowary Capital’ of Australia. Living and growing up near their endangered living dinosaur is a privilege they do not take for granted.

Koa, Shaun, Luke, Ella, Kelly- Year 4. PHOTO: Carmen Pedroni

The students have been designing bright colourful artworks to be digitally enhanced by artist and festival coordinator Liz Gallie to use as road signs to help raise awareness during the 2021 Community Cassowary Festival. 

From the earliest grades to Year six, their passionate messages ring loud and clear; ‘Slow down’ and ‘watch out’ when driving on roads through cassowary country.    In acknowledgment of all their efforts to protect the environment and cassowaries, this year the Mission Beach State School kids won a Wet Tropics Management Authority Cassowary Award.

That’s not the only creative works they are involved in. Both the Mission Beach State School under the guidance of art teacher Carmen Pedroni and the Rainforest School kids being tutored by artist Nina Dawson are busy making cassowary costumes to wear in the ‘Drumming of the Cassowaries’  grand parade”.

Aleya, Ayla, Lila- Year 5. PHOTO: Carmen Pedroni

The parade will be supported by the Tully High School Brass Band and led by well-known entertainment identity Di Queen, especially invited from Cairns to lend her magic to the Festival.

Ms Gallie said the Mission Beach school kids always come up with great slogans that show how much they love the rainforest ‘big birds.  “The Cassowary Festival which will be held on Saturday September 4, is a celebration of our community, for our community said Ms Gallie. “A big colourful creative event with opportunities for local businesses and families to showcase the community’s commitment to caring for Cassowaries, keeping Mission Beach natural and celebrating the special place we live”.

 “The kids are our best ambassadors”.

The festival steering committee invites everyone to follow the kids lead and join in the fun; make a costume, join the parade, dress up their market stall or showcase initiatives that contribute to an eco-sustainable future.

For more

Festival Coordinator, artist Liz Gallie. PHOTO: Carmen Pedroni.


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