Waste to Art winner definitely ‘Something to Crow About’

From recycled plastic monkeys to masterpieces recreated in denim offcuts, 2023’s Waste to Art competition entries were diverse and wonderful, with the winning piece edging out a highly competitive field.

The annual Waste to Art exhibition was officially opened on Friday 17 November at Gatakers Artspace in Maryborough with the highly anticipated winner announcements.

Hervey Bay Veterinarian and artist Lily Podger took out first prize in the Over 18s category with a splendid giant, stainless-steel rooster.

The work, titled ‘Something to Crow About’ was welded together from secondhand cutlery, machinery parts, wires and even unwanted veterinary tools.

“I enjoy fossicking at the Hervey Bay Tip Shop, which is where most of the cutlery comes from,” Ms Podger said.

“The rooster is laying a golden egg, which is actually a golf ball. It sparks a little confusion surrounding its gender identity.”

The win wasn’t the first for Ms Podger, whose works are popular with visitors to the exhibition and also adorn her Scarness Veterinary Clinic.

For mother Adriana van Leeuween and daughter Julia Mahne, winning is in their jeans. Both received prizes for their works, which were both made from discarded denim.

Julia was awarded second prize in the 12 to 17 year old category for her work ‘Dress of distress’ which was made from old jeans.

Her mother Adriana then used the offcuts to create a replica of the 17th Century masterpiece, ‘The Milkmaid’ by Johannes Vermeer, which was awarded third in the Over 18s category.

The pair were thrilled to be sharing the spotlight together.

Hervey Bay resident George Rowland was the proud winner of the 8-11 year old category. He crafted a colourful meadow from plastic soft drink bottles.

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour and Deputy Mayor Denis Chapman were on hand to announce the winners and were impressed with the quality and creativity of the entries.

“This competition is open to all budding artists and is a highlight of the local arts calendar,” Cr Seymour said.

The annual competition and exhibition requires all works to be made from recycled or re-purposed items and materials sourced from Fraser Coast Regional Council Reuse Markets, op shops or second-hand shops on the Fraser Coast. It aims to change the way we look at waste.

“Fraser Coast Regional Council is proud to be organizing this competition, now in its sixth year, and would like to thank sponsors Cleanaway, Hyne Timber, Reuse & Recycle Group and NuGrow, and congratulate all of our winners and participants on their terrific work,” Cr Seymour said.

The full list of 2023 Waste to Art winners:

Over 18s Category
1st Prize – Lily Podger, Something to crow about
2nd Prize – Nora Hanasy, wa-STAG-e
3rd Prize – Adriana van Leeuwen, Milkmaid in jeans

12-17 Year Olds
1st Prize – Leo Baker, The Angler Fish
2nd Prize – Julia Mahne, Dress of distress
3rd Prize – Emily McGregor, Gherkins Garden

8-11 Year Olds
1st Prize – George Rowland, Re-cycle meadow
2nd Prize – Pippa Phillips, Garden Art
3rd Prize – Joni Cobbin, The Plastic Bag Princess

Under 8s
1st Prize – Bay Explorers Urangan Kindy, Penny the emu and Kev the Kiwi
2nd Prize – Busy Bees Fraser Coast, Bee Creative-Bee Cycle-Bee Sustainable
3rd Prize – Kate Sheppard, Rainbow Flower

The Waste to Art exhibition is on now at Gatakers Artspace until Sunday 7 January, 2024 and entry is free. Gatakers Artspace is open Tuesdays to Fridays 9.30am to 3.30pm and weekends 9.30am to 2pm.

Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favourite artwork in the People’s Choice Award which is announced toward the end of the exhibition.

For more information go to

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