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Case Studies Stick Shed Residency | RAF Case Study (2019)

The Murtoa Stick Shed Committee of Management saw the potential of their unique heritage listed building to host arts events and tap into the growing regional arts tourism market. With the support of the Regional Arts Fund and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), they enlisted some Artists to work with the local community to deliver their first event that showcased the site as an arts venue.

A Community Grant recipient, via the Regional Arts Fund, as managed by Regional Arts Victoria.

Murtoa is a wheat district town in Victoria, Australia, situated around Lake Marma on the Wimmera Highway, around 30km from Horsham. At the 2016 census, Murtoa had a population of 865.

The Murtoa Stick Shed is an iconic heritage listed grain store built in 1941. The space is unique, like a rustic cathedral, with incredible acoustics. The committee were keen to see what happened when they gave a team of talented artists the opportunity to experiment in this space and transform it with their vision. They wanted people to experience the Stick Shed in a new way, and achieved this with an artists residency that explored the artistic possibilities of the space and developed a show that brought a lot of extra people to the town for the weekend.

A large-scale puppetry, sound, projection and light show was delivered in the Stick Shed at the end of the residency, as the opening event for the Murtoa Big Weekend. The event attracted approximately 750 people and was the culmination of all the 3 month collaboration between Murtoa locals, the Stick Shed Committee, and a collective of artists from Made in Natumuk (MIN – including Dave Jones, Anthony Schellens and Jillian Pierce. The night included many highlights but a standout was the giant 15 metre tall puppet named Matilda, operated by children from Murtoa. There was also music with an interactive light piece that showcased the talents of local pianist Margaret Flemming, and a screening of short films made by Murtoa locals.

This project generated new work opportunities for those involved in the creation and delivery of the event. It provided locals with the skills to build performances and the equipment to do it with. The project has caught the attention of other artists, also interested to work in the space and gradually build on the skill set of the community over time. This project has the potential to put Murtoa on the artistic map, and empower locals with new capabilities to create and deliver exciting new work. This project has been enormously beneficial to the people of Murtoa, tapping into the arts tourism that is growing in the region. The Stick Shed is thematically tied to the Silo Art Trail through its shared heritage and the committee hopes that continuing to provide high quality arts experiences in this unique setting will make it a must see addition to the art trail. Long term, their goals are to create quality arts events that will build Murtoa’s reputation and draw people in, boost the economy and provide work opportunities for local artists into the future.


  • Local delivery of a high quality arts event
  • Attendance of 750, in a town with population 865
  • Upskilling the local community to continue to deliver events
  • First of many residencies
  • Committee of Management have had requests from other artists interested in staging exhibitions and displays in the Stick Shed including filming, an art exhibition and a musical performance, all as a result of the publicity generated by this project.

Applicant location: Murtoa, Victoria.
Project Location: Murtoa, Victoria.
Amount of RAF support: $14,840
Amount of FRRR support $9918
Total project cost: $34,335.00

Stick Shed Residency
Giant Puppet in Murtoa Stick Shed. Photographer Dave Jones.