Spotlight on Forbes: sculpture by starlight claims photography competition win

Ancestors Watching by Emelie Rogers.
Ancestors Watching by Emelie Rogers.

This incredible image of Forbes' Varanus against the night sky has been chosen as the winner of the Central West Is Best photography competition.

Emilie Rogers' 'Ancestors Watching' was chosen as the senior winner from close to 400 entries in this year's competition run by Regional Development Australia Central West.

The stunning image was captured when the 5.5m tall sculpture was newly installed, just one week after Emi had attended a Bathurst Camera Club workshop on capturing the night sky.

"It was my first attempt at astrophotography on my own," Emi, who is from Parkes, said.

While Emi has developed her skills in the months since and continued to take photographs that are more technically advanced, this photograph does hold a special place in her heart.

"It means a lot to me as an Indigenous person in our community," she explained.

"The goanna is our totem, and we are taught that the stars are our ancestors.

"So to me this is very symbolic of our ancestors and our totem all watching over us.

"It shows the goanna as the powerful protector that he is."

'There's no place like home' was the theme for 2021, with applicants encouraged to capture the essence of their hometown.

Incredibly, Forbes also had success in the junior competition with Peta Allen's Endless Fence being named runner up.

RDA Central West Chair, Ruth Fagan, said the competition, now in its third year, continues to grow and celebrate the region.

"We had an overwhelming response to the competition this year, receiving a total of 392 entries across the Junior and Open categories," said Mrs. Fagan.

"This year we wanted to focus on why the Central West is a great place to live - after all, it's home to 180,000 people and is made up of some terrific towns and villages and beautiful landscapes.

"We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who entered the competition - the judges certainly had a tough decision but we are thrilled to announce this year's prize winners."

Junior (Under 18 years):

  • Winner: 'Rory in the hay' taken by Amelia O'Reilly at Tullibigeal
  • Runner-up: 'Endless fence' by Peta Allen at Forbes
  • Special mention: 'Sisters are the best' taken by Ella Gibson at Baldry

Open (18 years and over):

  • Winner: 'Ancestors watching' taken by Emilie Rogers at Forbes
  • Runner-up: 'Shining crown' taken by Samantha Ellis at Capertee Valley
  • Special mention: 'Belubula River rapids' taken by Warren Lloyd at Junction Reefs

Emi loves the sculpture trail and silo art and would encourage anyone who hasn't been out exploring our public art trails to head out and see them as the ability to travel opens back up.

The goanna on the side of the Vinnies building is another of her favourites.

She loves landscape and animal photography as a hobby, photographing with a Nikon D5600