Goodness gracious, great balls of wire

McKinlay residents create north west flood monument from downed fences

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The community spirit which abounded during their darkest hour continues to shine as residents of the McKinlay Shire create a monument to ensure the north west flood is never forgotten.

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MONUMENT: Guy Keats, Toby Fitchett and his dad Cliff Fitchett creating the frame for the wire ball.

MONUMENT: Guy Keats, Toby Fitchett and his dad Cliff Fitchett creating the frame for the wire ball.

THE community spirit which abounded during their darkest hour continues to shine as residents of the McKinlay Shire create a monument to ensure the north west flood is never forgotten.

Toby Fitchett, 19, of Sunny Plains, 32km north of Julia Creek is leading a community project to construct a barbed-wire ball made from the hundreds of kilometres of fencing downed during the 2019 monsoon.

Toby has put the call out for residents to donate their discarded fencing, which is being used to construct the lasting memorial.

"I'm trying to do something fun and positive for Julia Creek and the McKinlay Shire, so there is something positive coming out of the flood," Toby said.

"We had a lot of damage, as well as everyone else, but we all faced it together and everyone had their own losses, we all fared it the same."

Toby said he had done a course last year to learn how to create barbed wire art, and the idea of the flood ball was born.

With sculptures to date including barbed wire hats and hearts, the ball is by far his most ambitious project.

Once complete, the ball is expected to be about 2.5m high. It will be mounted on a solid platform and will be illuminated with solar flood lights. The location for the ball is yet to be determined, but Toby said it may be at McIntyre Park or in the main street.

Toby said with the help of the community, he was confident the project would be a success.

"They all love it and are keen to get behind it and help me promote it and we're getting people to donate barbed wire from the McKinlay Shire.

"Some people have buried the wire but a lot are still donating which is good to see."

Toby said the ball was about a quarter of the way done, and he is inviting the community to help create the masterpiece this Saturday at a workshop behind Booth Rural, which is also the drop-off point for barbed wire.

He said he hoped the artwork would be finished by the end of next month.

Toby plans to host a community event to unveil the monument and thank the volunteers who have worked on the project.

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