What do you get when you take 10 iPads and cotton material soaked in fabric stiffener to create the cast of the fibreglass cow and then overlay that with handmaid embroidery? – iMoo that’s who.

Wednesday 16th November 2011

Day 2 Archibull Prize Judging and Art judge Wendy Taylor and enthusiastic “Jack of All Trades” Lynne Strong jumped in the Holden Rodeo and headed off to Hurlstone Agricultural High School (HAHS) at Glenfield. We were rather pleased with ourselves that we were again on time and very excited to be heading to the home of the 2010 Archibull Prize winner and highly curious as to what the creative Hurlstone team had dreamt up for Archibull Prize 2011.

By way of background HAHS is an agricultural and selective, co-educational, public high school, located in Glenfield, a south-western suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is the oldest government boarding school in New South Wales.

Hurlstone is unique in that it is the state’s only public selective and agricultural school that also includes a coeducational boarding school. The 112 hectare campus includes an operational farm, sporting facilities and student accommodation. ( Blurb courtesy of Wiki)

When we arrived we introduced ourselves to the delightful ladies in the office and out of nowhere appeared effervescent year 10 student Emma who hails from Narrabri

Hurlstone was allocated Cotton as their food or fibre industry and to add to the mix had received a sitting down cow.

Can you imagine the look on our faces when we were introduced  to iMoo???????.

iMoo Hurlstone Agricultural High School's entry in 2011 Archibull Prize

I think even Steve Jobs would have been gobsmacked with just what a group of highly creative students and teachers can do with 10 iPads and cotton material soaked in fabric stiffener to create the cast of the fibreglass cow and then overlaid with handmade embroidery

In order to do justice to the juxtaposition of traditional vs modern, handcraft vs technology, urban vs rural and fragility vs strength iMoo conveys I have reprinted an extract from the art analysis courtsey of the HAHS Archibull Prize blog written by Lisa Nguyen who you can meet here

Cotton has become an integral asset in Australia and yet it seems that Australians, particularly those in urbanised areas are oblivious to the industry. Statistics we have uncovered during our investigation to produce this artwork have shocked us and have been employed in the artwork to shock the audience.

The use of cotton as the main medium in this artwork is a direct reference to the cotton industry of Australia. Its fragility reflects the precarious state of the cotton industry in Australia yet also speaks to the inherent strength of the industry through the unexpected stability of the form. The deliberate absence of colour in this artwork is also a significant aspect of this piece. The white cotton signifies purity, hope and innocence, a reference to the future of Australia that has not yet been tainted. The white scheme symbolic to the endless possibilities of tomorrow’s generation and the hope that maybe, one day the urban divide may be narrowed.

History is referenced through the use of cotton and embroidery, a traditional art form, which is then contrasted by the invasion of technology, the iPad. The advancement of technology in recent years has progressed in leaps and bounds and at times has solely replaced traditional means. In saying so, this ‘invasion’ at times is not entirely a bad thing; in fact it may be a perfect partnership. The integration of new technology in cotton farming practices has been seen to decrease damages, increase efficiency and hence increase profitability.

The iPad is representative of a current urban trend. People tend to follow information shown in technology and media almost religiously, regarding this as ‘truth’. The iPads, are used in this artwork to communicate the ‘real truth’ behind the struggling cotton industry.

Like all farming enterprises, cotton farmers are confronted with many difficulties, some easier to solve than others.

Interviews were conducted with a broad cross section of Australians and loaded onto the iPads. From ordinary Australians in shopping centres to Premier Barry O’ Farrell himself displaying limited appreciation of the human and environmental resources it takes to support Sydney for a one day. The result of these interviews were used in the artwork to inform and provoke responses from audiences.

The interactivity of iMoo not only allows audiences to physically interact with the piece in close proximity but also invites them to contribute to the collaborative artwork. The dynamic nature of the artwork means that the longer iMoo is exhibited the more comprehensive and extensive the video component will become, essentially personifying the artwork with the evolutionally characteristics of agriculture. The artwork bridges the rural divide through the integration of technology and tradition. The artwork’s interactive quality absorbs the audience while they explore these concepts.

HAHS student Jordan Kerr, teacher Jo Ross and students share with you the iMoo story here

You can see HAHS Student Jordan Kerr interview Barry O’Farrell here 

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell speaks to Jordan Kerr from Hurlstone Agricultural High School

Cotton comes from sheep doesn’t it? No it comes from Cows!!!!

By the time Archibull Prize 2011 judges reached Colo High School on the first day of judging we had started to believe Western Sydney students could turn a cow into anything at all and the students at Colo high School didnt let us down.

Can you imagine how gobsmacked we were when we saw “Threads”.

At first glance “Threads” had obviously had an altercation with a clothes line. On the line was a wide range everyday products made from cotton.

"Threads" Dont you just luv the name

But wait there is a lot more to “Threads” than first meets the eye

Colo High School was the first school who used both the inside and outside of the cow to tell their story.


Inside their cow was the story of the rural/urban divide with the country and city divided by a field of cotton. The imagery depicted cotton as the “heart” of their cow

Colo High School students with "Threads"

Colo High School’s treatment of the theme allowed the students to cleverly tell two stories of the same industry.

Art teacher Ms Mountain talks about the development of the Big Ideas here

Technology whizz Jesse shares his invovlment in the program here.

News Flash

Jess and the Colo High School technology team of Paul Pagnan and Ben Anderson took out best PowerPoint presentation ( tie with Model Farms High School)at the Archibull Prize 2011 Awards and Exhibition Day
You can see this very clever PREZZI here

Technology in the beef industry has big impact on Richmond High School

After visiting Cranebrook High School we jumped back in the truck ( image is everthing)took the secenic route to Richmond

Art4Agriculuture Young Farming Champion visited Richmond High School situated in outer Western Sydney as part of their Archibull Prize journey to share her story

Alison runs her own agricultural consultancy firm providing on farm technology implementation for farmers

Her area of speciality is NLIS data base management and having engaged her to assist with Clover Hill Dairies NLIS database upgrade I can provide testament she is highly qualified, efficient and in this case a blessing in disguise. Every farmer knows its very important to adhere to strict biosecurity guidelines. But I digress 

The students were also fascinated by the development of the QR code app. See Alison’s presentation to the students for further information     

With Richmond High School students at sport art teacher Simon Wyatt was on hand to share the Richmond High School Archibull Prize journey and the story of “Patti” with the judges. 

What an awesome job he does. He shares the journey with you here

NLIS is the National Livestock Identification System developed to help Australia trace animals, improve market access, and manage disease and residue control issues. In cattle, electronic ear tags or rumen boluses (an electronic tag deposited in the stomach) are used to individually identify and trace their movements in NLIS. By using this method, individual animal movements can be recorded on a central database, enabling fast and accurate tracking of cattle movements for disease or residue-affected animals. The system also provides documentary records of movements, such as waybills and combined NVDs and waybills. 

How does NLIS work?

Because NLIS is both electronic and permanent, individual animals can be traced faster and more accurately than with the previous tail tag and waybill systems. In the event of a disease outbreak, quarantine measures can be deployed faster and with limited costs to industry and government.

The system also allows for faster return to business enabling the rapid removal of suspect infected or contaminated animals. The previous tail tag system tracked cattle from their consignment property to sale or slaughter. Beyond that, tracing relied on paper-based records held on farms or elsewhere.

Where is the demand for NLIS coming from?

Global trends are very clear; our major customers and competitors are rapidly moving towards individual animal identification tracking systems. In 1999, the European Union was the first to require individual animal identification to support hormonal growth promotant (HGP)-free certification. Canada, Japan, Uruguay, and Brazil all have government and industry-backed individual animal tracing systems in place.

Key benefits for the Australian livestock industry

  • reduced financial and social impact of a livestock disease or residue incident due to faster and more accurate livestock identification and traceability
  • being prepared for international customers demanding lifetime traceability
  • maintaining access to overseas markets
  • ensuring domestic and export consumers continue to have confidence in Australian beef and dairy products
  • upholding Australia’s reputation as a producer of safe, wholesome beef and dairy products.

Key benefits for producers

Direct benefits from NLIS depend on how a producer uses the technology in their business. These can include:

  • improved management and breeding decisions by using individual animal performance data linked to carcase feedback to fine tune compliance with customer specifications
  • saving time and more accurate individual animal data due to automated electronic reading
  • improved deterrent to stock theft.

    Richmond High School Archibull prize 2011 Entry "Patti"


Who would of thought you can turn a cow into a table?

Cranebook High School, can that’s who!!!!!!!!

Third cab off the rank on day 2 of the Archibull Prize 2011 was Cranebrook High School in Western Sydney where the agriculture team under the guidance of the hard working and much loved Dani Saxon signed up for a second year of the Archibull Prize.

This year students from year 8 to 11 collaborated to tell the story of sheep with the assistance of two life size fibreglass calves.  

Here is the background in the students own words

We learnt about sheep production, the processes of farm gate to plate and ensuring the sustainability of our future.

In the creation of our Archibull’s we focused on sheep production, both meat and fleece. We incorporated this industry with sustainability and the farm gate to plate process themes to present to the judges our two bulls.

One Bull shows the history, process and variation through the fleece industry. The colours of the bull resemble a large quilt, with the white stitching between each colour. The painted tools scattered across this quilt show the history of shearing (showing the old hand shears and the modern electronic shears). The other tools are those used for husbandry practices on the majority of sheep farms in Australia (including the drench gun, elastrator and shears). The French knitted fleece over the bull symbolises the bleaching, dying and processing stages of fleece. For natural fleece to be usable by commercial produces, much of it must be dyed to suit the consumer demand (in this case it is blue). The French knitting gives the viewer a clear image of the products created from sheep fleece.

Cranebrook’s second bull shows more of the farm gate to plate processes, incorporating sheep within it. On one side of this bull there are lush paddocks of pasture and extensive breeding of sheep and other farm animals. The Woolworths truck (a sponsor of the Archibull Prize) shows the long packaging, processing and transporting stage of most agricultural products. Having the Woolworths truck driving straight onto the dining table, on the opposite side of the bull, gives the idea of the farm gate to plate process (explaining to the viewer where there food and fibre come from). The opposite side of the bull (the dining table) shows the products from these animals and crops, such as the hamburger, sauces, chicken, fruit and vegetables. This gives the viewer a direct connection with the bull’s, as most of these products are found on everyday dining tables.

Cranebrook’s second bull shows the farm gate to plate processes

Starting our Archibull’s was probably the most difficult stage of the Archibull Prize, combing all the ideas from across the school into two bull’s. Several classes ranging from year 8 to year 11 contributed ideas and sketches, which were put together and rearranged by our teachers.

Once we had created the final design we began painting our base colours on both bull’s. On the table bull the legs were painted in a brown colour, to resemble the wooden legs of a table, whilst one side of the body was painted blue with a green horizon and the other side a peachy pink of a dining room.  On the fleece bull we painted large patchy areas of bright colours and small white markings around each section (stitch marks).

To create our dining bull we cut out pieces of thin wood for the table (which was lots of fun, trying to make the wood fit around the shape of the bull). We then glued large blocks of wood on the sides of the body and attached the table. After time the table eventually fell off (ooops!) and we decided to drill the table onto the bull rather than glue. We then placed the pasture of grass on the blue side and a cliché dining room tablecloth (red and white checked) on the other. Once the pasture and tablecloth was in place, the real fun began. We used plastic foods, animals and other crafty items to create a farm and a dining room. On the dining side we placed two plates of food, in front of two dining table chairs. On these plates consisted of agricultural products such as beef, chips and sauces. This shows the processes from the other side of the bull and shows the viewer where their food comes from. The window on the wall shows the view of the paddock from inside the dining room, with the sheep in the distance. This connects both the production and consumption of sheep. On the opposite side the small pond, surrounded by ducks and geese shows the biodiversity of a farm, and symbolises the water and nutrients needed to run a farm. The hay feeders scattered in the paddock shows the effort put into farms to correctly manage animals and provide nutrients for livestock. The various species of farm animals show the many different kinds of agricultural products produced to feed Sydney for a day.

Cranebrook’s second bull was created through the painting of tools and equipment used to produce sheep. The old hand shears show the history of shearing mechanism, compared to the electronic shears used now. These were painted on by using our own tools used on our school farm. A drench gun, elastrator, castrating knife, NLIS tags and ear tagger are also found on the bull, to show the husbandry practices used to produce sheep. Without these tools many livestock would die from pests and disease and many could not be identified. Once the basis of these shapes were painted we added definition and detail to create a more realistic image of them. We then attached the French knitting to the bull, which resembles the processing of natural wool (dying, bleaching and spinning).

The Archibull Prize journey was amazing, we learnt so much about the production of many different agricultural products, learning where our food and fibre comes from and how they reach our homes.

Makeover for the Beef Industry

In our last post about our journey to find the Archibull Prize 2011 winner we told you about the Story of Beef entry from Caroline Chisholm College. We now share with you their video entry which is task 3 of the Archibull Prize 2011

The task is to put together a short video, no longer than 5 minutes to raise the profile of the school’s allocated food or fibre industry ( in this case beef) and promote the Australian farmers that produce it.

We can assure you Caroline Chisholm’s entry is sure to make you smile

Next Gen doing Cotton proud

Another Archie unveiled this time from the clever team at Macarthur
Anglican School

Teacher Helen Glover sent Macarthur Anglican Young Farming
Champion Hollie Baillieu a sneak peak

Hollie was amazed and proud and so she should be. (Let me
tell you the Young Farming Champions are all very competitive. Its X Factor
mindset amongst the YFC mentors)

Here is Hollie’s reply to Helen

This is fantastic – I love Gossy!!! She is absolutely incredible
and her name is perfect. The blog is such fun and it is great to hear
all the comments from the kids. You obviously put on a very fun ‘cotton day’.
It’s great to see that you have put so much emphasis on learning about
cotton and the many elements within the industry.

Please congratulate the school for me


Gossy Front
Gossy Back


 You can find the presentation Hollie gave to the students here


Farmers and Next Gen working together for a sustainable future

Another Archie is unveiled

Crestwood High School "Blossom" Side 1

Young Farming Champion Melissa Henry visited Crestwood High School. This is what she had to say when she saw pictures of Blossom and read the students blog http://crestwoodarchibull.blogspot.com/

I am so excited!! I love their Archibull – particularly the wool processing side of the cow. I think they have done a fantastic job and have really understood the elements of wool production and processing for a city market! I can’t wait  for the final presentation and awards in December.

I also liked reading their blog on my visit and I’m really pleased that they gained a lot from their time with me, especially increasing their awareness of career opportunities in the agriculture and sheep industry.

Crestwood High School "Blossom" Side 2

Fantastic work Crestwood High School. How about saying well done by posting a comment on their website   http://crestwoodarchibull.blogspot.com/