Local News at Your Fingertips

Mary’s focus scooped the prize pool

by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow

The Rotary Club Millicent hosted the official opening of their fifth annual Photographic Show on Friday evening 11th April at the Civic and Arts Centre Millicent. The event was attended by over 140 people from the region and some travelled from Mt Gambier and Victoria.

 Local photographer, Mary Whitehead, scooped the prize pool with four firsts out of the six categories and a runner-up in one of those. Mary used to take photos for pleasure but over the past few years began learning the technical side of her craft and her skill captured the judges attention, none of whom knew who took which photos until after the judging had been completed.

5THE FM’s Rebekah Lowe was Master of Ceremonies. Guest speakers   Eddy Hann Rotary President welcomed the crowd, Paul Atkins-  Atkins Technicolor officially opened the event and Mayor Peter Gandolfi praised the quality of the entries. A team of Rotarians, led by Mary Altschwager spent many weeks   preparing for the event and setting up the exhibition of over 230 entries from around Australia.


Rotary President Hann thanked all sponsors, for with out their continued support this event would not happen, he said. The Rotary International theme for 2013/14 is Engage Rotary Change Lives and this event was no exception, he added. He asked that the community support the sponsors who support Rotary and the community as a whole.

This years Rotary Project is Australian Rotary Health. Rotary Health began in 1981 with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and continued to grow offering opportunity for research in areas unable to attract funding, including mental health. Polio has been an ongoing project and eradication is progressing slowly, he said.

Rotary supports local community projects as well as some further afield in the shape of the Shelter Box Program which provides emergency tent accommodation and basic life essential to disaster zones which seem to be on the increase, he said.

“Together with your support we will Engage Rotary and Change Lives.”


Paul Atkins from Atkins Technicolor in Adelaide, Sponsor and Photography Professional shared the meaning of photography beyond the technical aspect saying, ” photos should mean something to the person looking at it, photography is story telling, so tonight we have 235 storytellers here on display.”

Paul has been a sponsor of the Rotary Photographic Art Show for four years and  this year he said he was so pleased to see the Under 19 Atkins Award doubled.

Paul is:- President of the Institute of Professional Photography, National Chairperson for the Photo Marketing Association International, President of the Association for the Professional Color Images Australia. He runs workshops in Adelaide and keeps photographers informed of competitions, exhibitions and other news with regular newsletters.

“Don’t trust your hard drives,” he said, “edit and keep what means something to you.”

“I came to the Rotary Exhibition three years ago and was so impressed that I wanted to remain involved.”

“You can get a photo out of your shoebox, taken 30 years ago, and that photo can still stir the same emotion it did then – its incredibly powerful.”

Moran Arts Foundation Photographic Workshops were held again this year in local schools Mt Burr, Rendelsham, Kangaroo Inn, Millicent High School and Beachport Primary. These workshops are free and up to 30 children from each school have the opportunity to participate. They each have the use of a digital camera and are taught the theme of visual ‘story telling.’

Prizes winners for 2014:-

Mary Whitehead scooped the prize pool with her husband  also scoring well with three prizes overall. Mary’s,  Dales Gorge, Karijini won the Thompson Drilling Landscape Award and the Don Ferguson Regional Photographer Awards with judges using the word beautiful often when viewing this image.  Beautiful image, beautiful detail, good exposure with no loss of detail, extremely sharp, beautiful composition and lighting. Judges said it could be blown up two or three times larger and still be magnificent on the wall. Her Pilbarra Baby won the Infigen Energy Nature Award and judges again were impressed by the sharpness and the bird looking straight at the camera with surroundings not detracting from the main subject.

Thompson Drilling Landscape Award Winner – Mary Whitehead, Runner-up – Tony Whitehead,  Merit awards – Tony Whitehead, Sonya Francis, Marie Pegler.

Infigen Energy Nature Award – Winner mary Whitehead, Runner-up – Mandy Dureau, Merit Awards – Mike Brourton, Murray Unkovich, Mike Brourton

Kimberley-Clark Portrait Award – Winner – Mary Whitehead, Runner-up – John Basely, Merit Awards – Marcus Jones, Scott McCarten, Sonya Francis

Mayoral Open Award – Winner  – Mike Slattery, Runner-up – Nancy Murphy, Merit Awards – Rick Hyde, Christy Radford, Tracey Reppin.

Atkins Technicolor Under 19 Award – Winner John R O’Connell, Runner-up Hope Palmer, Merit Awards – Adrianne Neshoda, Demi Huppatz, Cecelia Whitehead

Don Ferguson Regional Photographer Award – Winner – Mary Whitehead, Runner-up – Mary Whitehead, Merit Awards – Rick Hyde, Tony Whitehead, John O’Connell

Peter Rapp Youth Incentive Award – Alex Reilly Peter was a h ighly repsected member of the Rotary Club and as a member for 34 years, he had supported community events, encouraged youth and had supported the Rotary Photographic Show since its inception. His family continue to donate a perpetual award to a talented young photographer each year. 2013 winner was Adrianne Neshoda who received a Merit award in this category this year.


Mayor Gandolfi, moved by the importance of the occasion, decided it warranted an impromptu speech to congratulate the entrants from all around Australia and the Rotary Club for taking, what began as an Art show with paint and brushes, to encompass the art of photography, making it available to the wider local and national community.

“This event is an asset to the community.” he said. “With so many wonderful attractions in the region it is no wonder that people want to record history through photography and now family photos hang where once a water color may have hung. The digital age has made family photos a possibility for everyone.”
Mr Gandolfi welcomed visitors and said he hoped they would take the time to enjoy the many attraction in the region.


Guests were invited to view the exhibition, assist the cultural economy by purchasing images, vote for the people’s choice and courage others to visit the show.

The Rotary Photoraphic Art Exhibition is open from April 11th to the 21st at the Civic and Arts Centre Millcient. (Closed Good Friday)

Photos by Rosie Pounsett

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