Hinchinbrook Action Group
9 May 2005


Dollars for Dugongs

The extremely successful Dugongs of Hinchinbrook II Art Exhibition came to a close on Friday night, 29 th April, with a final sales total exceeding $100,000.

The Dugongs of Hinchinbrook II Exhibition was an art and environment collaborative project between Artists Supporting Hinchinbrook, the Hinchinbrook Action Group and KickArts Gallery, Centre of Contemporary Arts, Cairns, in support of the campaign to protect dugongs and other high conservation values of the Hinchinbrook region. This national campaign is led by the Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook Inc.

After four weeks of silent bidding, the final two hours saw much increased interest. Environmentalists, artists and art lovers, came for one last look at what had to have been the most diverse array of artworks ever displayed in Cairns. People hovered around their chosen artwork, placing last minute bids before the bell sounded the end of the silent bidding process.

Excitement mounted as the top ten works of art by Ray Crooke, Brett Whiteley, Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Fred Williams, Peter Kingston, Elisabeth Cummings, Reg Mombassa, Davida Allen and 2005 Archibald prize winning John Olsen were auctioned on the floor by Melbourne based Comedy Club manager, Victorian Opera Company conductor and environmentalist, Greg Hocking. Several works were purchased by people who had flown in specifically for the Auction from Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney

The exhibition was arguably the most successful art exhibition and environmental fundraiser Cairns has ever seen. Starting with over 500 attendees on the opening night, record numbers continued throughout to take advantage of this rare opportunity to experience so many of Australia’s most significant artists.

The Exhibition received generous and overwhelming interest from contributing artists, Cairns residents, interstate and international visitors. This outstanding input demonstrates the high level of public support for protection of the World Heritage listed Hinchinbrook Island and Channel from the impacts of mainland coastal developments. Although the Exhibition focused on the shy dugongs that call hinchinbrook home, there are other rare and threatened sea mammals which need the protection of a safe Hinchinbrook habitat, along with other sea and land creatures at risk such as sea turtles, beach stone curlews and mahogany gliders.

Peter Kingston, founder of Artists Supporting Hinchinbrook said. “The exhibition has raised funds that will help ensure that the best scientific evidence and legal advice will be available and that all avenues will be pursued to challenge development proposals which are likely to have significant negative impacts on the natural beauty and rare and threatened species of the Hinchinbrook Channel and Island”.

Development Applications for the 150 hectare, four kilometre long Stage II project, and for two breakwater walls through the State Marine Park adjacent to the Hinchinbrook Channel, are currently before the Federal Minister for the Environment, Senator Ian Campbell. A Public Environment Report is due to be released shortly for public scrutiny and comment. Applications are also being assessed by the State Government and Cardwell Council.

Exhibition Contacts Hinchinbrook Action Group (HAG):

* James Crawford 07 4037 0102 email:

* Steven Nowakowski  0402 810 411
* Di Horsburgh 0427 938 901

Campaign Contact Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook Inc. (ASH):
* Margaret Moorhouse 0427 724 052

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