Mungindi's long-awaited sculpture trail will be officially opened this weekend.
The exciting event is the culmination of over two years of work by the community, the family of the artist who created the sculptures and two local government organisations from different sides of the Queensland and New South Wales border.
Featuring 10 raw and rustic sculptures by award-winning local artist Tony 'Nicko' McMillan - who tragically died at 54 years of age in 2016 - the trail delivers a new perspective on art and nature.
Katherine McMillan said she and her husband Nicko had a beautiful life together in Mungindi.
"Mungindi was in his blood. Nicko loved making sculptures and sharing his love of art. You'll be in awe of what this man could do. He had a sixth sense when it comes to art, he could make something out of virtually nothing."
The 2.5km Mungindi Sculpture Trail is an open-air art gallery that uniquely crosses the border in two places.
Nicko's family has generously donated the sculptures to the Mungindi community, while a collaborative approach by the Mungindi Progress Association, the Moree Plains Shire Council and Balonne Shire Council followed through to pay tribute to Nicko and showcase the sculptures for everyone's enjoyment.
The Balonne Shire Council utilised funding from the Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program to deliver the project, which saw a number of challenges thrown up over the two years of planning.
Balonne Shire Council Mayor Samantha O'Toole said the community had faced some difficult times since the beginning of the project.
"The community had been dealing with the effects of a long drought when a fire destroyed buildings in the retail heart of the town on the southern side, leaving the butcher, grocery store and haberdashery shop without a place to operate.
"COVID-19 created some serious issues for this town during the height of border closures, and while heavy rainfall eased drought conditions, it also created new challenges. Floodwaters cut off important transport routes and isolated some residents for weeks or months at a time. The impacts are still being felt by this community.
"This opening event will be a much-needed celebration for Mungindi, and this incredible artwork will brighten both town and spirits."
The opening, this Sunday September 18, will begin at Barwon Park Main Street, Mungindi, on the NSW side of the border, followed by a guided tour of the trail led by Nicko's family. It will end with a community celebration in the park to acknowledge Nicko's gift to his beloved Mungindi.
The Cross-Border Mungindi Sculpture River Walk project was funded by the Australian Government under the Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program.