17 September 2021

The scarecrows that were outstanding in their field for Father's Day

| James Coleman
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Singing in the Rain

‘Singing in the Rain’ by the Lee family. Photo: Marisa Paterson.

The Father’s Day weekend may have been wet and miserable but that didn’t stop more than 50 scarecrows braving the elements as part of a competition to celebrate dads.

The three winners were announced on Tuesday, 14 September, on MLA Dr Marisa Paterson’s website.

Simone Hunter from the Weston Creek Community Council (WCCC) oversees a community patch at the ACT’s annual flower show, Floriade, but with COVID-19 restrictions stopping this for the second time, she got creative.

WCCC interim chair Bill Gemmell said that last year they took over a spot of public land in Chapman, cultivating it with tulips and 10 to 15 scarecrows, as a sort of Floriade in the ‘burbs.

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This year, with everyone locked down in the homes and Father’s Day around the corner, Simone arrived at the idea for the ‘CBR Scarecrow’ competition.

Families were encouraged to work together on a scarecrow and stake its claim in either the front or back yard as a fun way to spend the day. There might even be extra points for not buying new things and incorporating this year’s Floriade theme, ‘The Future of Flowers’.

Simone approached Labor member for Murrumbidgee, Dr Marisa Paterson, who agreed to host the competition on her website.

“I’ve never built a scarecrow before, but I’m looking forward to giving it a go in my own front yard with my kids next weekend,” Dr Paterson said.

To participate, all you had to do was post a picture of your scarecrow to your Facebook or Instagram account with the hashtag #CBR Scarecrow, or email a picture to Dr Paterson. All images were uploaded to the CBR Scarecrow page on Dr Paterson’s website.

Between 10 am on Monday, 6 September and 8 pm on Sunday, 12 September, more than 600 members of the community scrolled through the options and chose their favourites.

The Lee family took first place with their creation, called ‘Singing in the Rain’, complete with umbrella, rain coat and Wellingtons.

Emma said it was teamwork, involving her, her husband, their daughter Grace and to a slightly lesser degree, their baby son. It was named in honour of the weather and one of Grace’s favourite musicals.

They first heard about the competition through Grace who attends the primary school at Canberra Girl’s Grammar.

Each year, the school houses are assigned a challenge and with the current lockdown in the ACT, the staff decided on the CBR Scarecrow competition as a way to get the children involved while still at home. It was chosen as the topic for the house challenge.

“They have a colour system for the houses and Grace’s house colour is yellow, which is why we used a yellow raincoat on the scarecrow,” Emma said.

“The teachers also encouraged us to send a photo through to Dr Paterson.”

They are at a loss for words to describe what happened next.

“It’s just unbelievable, especially as we saw all the other amazing and very creative scarecrows. We never expected that we were going to win this competition. It’s amazing.”

She said it’s now a case of keeping their young son’s hands off it “because we don’t want him to accidentally destroy it”.


Second place went to ‘COVID Blues’. Photo: Marisa Paterson.

Second place went to a scarecrow dubbed ‘COVID blues’. According to the masterminds behind it, he is “making the most of his exercise time by going for a spring bike ride, but he still has the COVID blues”.

Third went to ‘Floriade Florence’, who is clearly dressed for warmer days with floral head gear and ‘feet’ shod in Birkenstock sandals.

WCCC interim chair Bill Gemmell said there were many more scarecrows out there but for whatever reason, didn’t enter the competition.

“It’s a really good opportunity to connect people in what is otherwise a pretty average time just now,” he said.

“It’s a really simple activity for anyone in our community. It’s fun and light hearted – just what we all need.”

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