Sydney Show Champions

Our very own Wendy Taylor and her husband Craig well and truly found themselves in the spotlight at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show winning the design award for Central District exhibit as well as being nominated as Show Champions for which they were recognised in the ‘Parade of Champions’ on Excellence in Agriculture day at this years Sydney Royal Easter Show.

CDE Trophy

The District Exhibit Displays are an iconic element of the Sydney Royal Easter Show . They are indeed spectacular constructions of vegetables, fruit and other produce elements. They are a cooperative work by primary producers that proudly reflect the diversity and excellence of their regional produce. Each display consists of over 10,000 pieces of fresh produce from five agricultural districts throughout New South Wales and South East Queensland. Wendy and Craig have been the big ideas team and designers of the Central District Exhibit for 23 years

This year the display represented farming, farmers and their achievements. The aim of the display was to demonstrate the average farmer produced each day and balance that against the rising world population. The important message of 1 FARMER… needed to be conveyed using a method that would catch the viewer and hold them. Wendy and Craig used data projectors to display an animation that works in concert with the facts and figures of this progressive industry, providing discussion points and enlightening the public.


1 FARMER… is symbolic of the industry – male, female, old, young, individual or collective. There is nothing to dilute. The display itself was a profusion of fresh, vibrant Australian produce, representative of the achievements of the industry.

CentralDistrict (2)

The 2011 display highlights the vast quantity of food it takes to feed Sydney in one single day ( statistics can be found here) The quantities are staggering and they only hint at the full story. It’s staggering enough to discover you need 90,000 cows to produce 1.3 million litres of milk that Sydney consumes every day, but then how much land do you need for those cows? How many people to run the farm? How much feed for the stock?
These are only a handful of questions and they are only for one area of agriculture. The drive behind this display was to start a conversation. “The drive behind this display was to start a discussion. If we can get people talking, thinking and appreciating their reliance on the rural sector, then the display has done its job” said Wendy. 

Wendy is also been a mentor for, and a judge of our Art4Agriculture highly successful high school educational program, the ‘Archibull Prize’ assisting teachers and students to understand how art and design can educate and inform the wider community and turn the light on about all the processes of production, marketing, consumption, sustainable use of resources and waste recycling associated with modern agriculture today. For the past 3 years the Central District exhibit has been the vehicle to launch our theme for the Archibull Prize  beginning in 2010 with this spectacular design which one both the Design Award and the People’s Choice Award 

Archibull Prize Central District Exhibit Display 2010

Wendy also had the honour of designing the display for the Australian Year of the Farmer launch last November

AYOF launch



Artwork judge Wendy Taylor on the Archibull Prize 2011

This post has been written by the Archibull Prize artwork judge Wendy Taylor who visited Mt Druitt Tutorial and Alice Betteridge School for Deaf and Blind Children on day four of judging by herself whilst I presented at the Careers Advisor Conference in Liverpool.

Wendy’s reflection on her four days visiting the schools

The most remarkable thing that I have found with the Archibull Prize this year is that irrespective of the circumstance of the school, whether they are the most privileged private school, a catholic school, state or selective high school, the impact of the programme was consistent. It was irrelevant whether the children were handpicked from gifted and talented classes or had learning difficulties. Again they all benefited equally and learnt from the programme. It was also irrelevant whether the children were in Kindergarten, Year 11 and 12 students, Agriculture classes or Art classes or a combined effort. All students gained from being included in the programme.

This is a remarkable end result. It shows that whatever field of education you apply it to it will have an impact on the children involved. I think that it is as relevant for inner city areas, rural areas and indigenous communities. The appeal of the programme is that because it is outside the normal curriculum, it breeds enthusiasm among both students and teachers. This manifests itself in increased learning, attendance, school spirit and a cooperative experience between students and teachers.

It is undoubted that the programme increases an understanding, appreciation and knowledge of agriculture and demonstrates to children that a career in agriculture doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sit on a tractor. I am sure that when Art4Agriculture up with the concept of the programme that they didn’t envision a response on so many different levels, from the individual students to the school community as a whole.

Wendy on school visits on Day of judging

Mt Druitt Tutorial Centre– “Chickcow”

On Friday I was abandoned by Lynne and ventured out on my own to visit the final two schools on our mega roadtrip.

The first was Mt Druitt Tutorial Centre. This is a dedicated school for children at risk.

I walked into the classroom expecting a cow depicting one of the commodity groups which I had seen over the last three days. Imagine my surprise when confronted with our very first “Chickcow”!

This cow definitely shows off the poultry industry, with its sculptural head, tail and feet. It has both tactile and painted feathers as well as many ‘info-feathers’ showing facts about the industry. The best bit of this cow is underneath with its precious clutch of hatching ‘chickcowlets’.


The programme was embraced by much of the school, with the art class making the ceramic eggs, the cooking classes focussing on poultry and egg recipes and many other students involved in the work on the cow itself.

This cow was so precious to the school that they couldn’t bring themselves to pierce its ear for the earrings they wanted it to have, so they had to come up with plan B (which you have to admit is great- made from clip-on egg rings!)


From the teacher

Time is up, so I am off to the next school.

Alice Betteridge–“Betsy”

Lucky last school for our judging road trip is Alice Betteridge School for the Deaf and Blind run by the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.

This year, Alice Betteridge is participating for the second time in the Archibull Prize programme. Last year they won the primary school section and this year thought they would try the High School section.

Alice Betteridge 2010

Alice Betteridge students and teachers with their winning entry from 2010

Annie (from Year 7) and Kirsten (from Year 9) were there to tell me about their calf, called “Betsy”.

While last year their entry was very tactile, with differing textures, finishes and built out areas, this year they have completed a very simple and elegant collage of relevant pictures. They found that because the children couldn’t feel the difference in the components, they wanted to know what each picture was and its relevance. They therefore had a much more complete learning experience. It was fascinating what the children could tell me about the pictures without being able to see them.

View album

They have pictures at the head of the calf showing rural images with pictures at the rear showing urban images and products. In the centre, linking the two, there is the Harbour Bridge over water with images of the process from grain to product.

Annie and Kirsten tell you what they have learnt here

As this is the last school (whew!!) I would just like to thank all the schools for their time and dedication to this programme, and for the phenomenal effort they have all put in. The results are beyond expectation and have completely blown us away. Well done to all! Thank you.