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The Mark
Yunbenun (Magnetic Island)

The Mark

Jenny Mulcahy

'In 1875 Magnetic Island was set aside as a place of quarantine. Tents were set up at Picnic Bay with the afflicted passengers being cared for by the Butler family who had recently established a pineapple farm in the area.'

In 1865 Cleveland Bay was declared a port of entry and clearance for ships arriving in Australia. As it was the first or second point of call for shipping on the Asia/Pacific route it was quickly identified as a place where shipboard disease such as Cholera and the Bubonic plague could be contained. In 1875 Magnetic Island was set aside as a place of quarantine. Tents were set up at Picnic Bay with the afflicted passengers being cared for by the Butler family who had recently established a pineapple farm in the area. These were later replaced by huts at either end of the Bay. Those who died whilst in quarantine at Picnic Bay were buried at the eastern end of the Bay.

In 1884 a proper Quarantine Station was established at West Point in response to the provisions of the Queensland Health Act and as a result of community concern about the standard of accommodation for people quarantined on the Island. A graveyard was established at West Point for those that died whilst in quarantine there.

Situated in a grove of trees only metres away from where the first quarantine tents were placed and the first graves dug, The Mark references pandemics that have impacted on civilisation through the ages and how we, as communities have responded to those unfortunate enough to become casualties.

Linking past pandemics with the COVID-19 pandemic the world is currently experiencing, The Mark encourages audiences to reflect about time, place and our moment in history whilst referencing a variety of ‘marks’ that have been used throughout history to identify those infected with disease for example, the Bubonic plague black or red crosses on doors, the eight pointed green cross know as the St Lazarus Cross for Leprosy, and more recently the Grim Reaper for Aids or the microbe symbol for COVID-19.

About the Artist

A committed environmentalist, Mulcahy is passionate about the land on which she lives, her work very much influenced by the amazingly diverse landscapes of north Queensland; the colours, textures and natural rugged formations. She says she is constantly in awe of this ancient land, a land we are so privileged to live upon…. a land so vast that many think its resources infinite …..And the unceasingly brave battle by those who know they are not.

Since opening her studio on Magnetic Island in 1984 Mulcahy’s work has continued to evolve. Initially working with ceramics she now works with a variety of media including ceramic, glass, stone, steel, found objects and plant materials…. basically, whichever media’s aesthetic best suits the concept she is addressing at the time.

Mulcahy has exhibited regularly and widely with her work held in numerous public and private collections. She has a PhD in Creative Arts, has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, participated in international residencies and completed a number of public art works.

Her most recent solo exhibition (2020) entitled Liminal Space explored issues of extinction and de-extinction while questioning those political decisions that place our environment in jeopardy. Previous bodies of work have addressed issues surrounding the mining of uranium, the plight of refugees and the commonality of our human relationship with place. Mulcahy’s current work is focused on the plight of the Biloela family and the intransigent attitudes of our present government ministers.

Event Information

Free Event Site-Specific
Location Details

The work will be installed in the grounds of the Magnetic Island History Museum and Craft Centre located on the corner of Granite and Barbarra Streets, Picnic Bay, Magnetic Island. 

Venue Accessibility

This venue’s conditions include:

  • Nearby accessible parking.
  • Nearby accessible public transport (bus stations).
  • Nearby street drop-off points.
  • Wheelchair accessible.
  • Signage indicating it is a PUNQ program.
  • This location will have ambient sound playing.
  • Stay on marked trails and formed roads to prevent damage to native vegetation, the spread of weed seeds and erosion.
  • Keep the grounds in good condition and limit erosion.
  • Rubbish facilities are not provided. Please take all your rubbish with you.
  • This is not a pet friendly location. Domestic animals are not permitted.
  • Please do not disturb the wild animals of this location and do not feed them.

This is a free and on-going event during the festival.

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COVID Safe Visits

PUNQ asks that visitors adhere to social distancing, visitor logs, and other COVID Safe directives and procedures as directed.

More COVID Information

Acknowlegement of Country

PUNQ respectfully acknowledges the Wulgurukaba of Gurambilbarra and Yunbenun and the surrounding groups of our region; Bindal, Gugu Badhan, Nywaigi, Warrgamay, Bandjin and Gudjal as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather, share and celebrate local creative practice. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people of Australia. They have never ceded sovereignty and remain strong in their enduring connection to land and Culture.

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North Queensland, Australia | Fri 30 July – Sun 8 August 2021

North Queensland, Australia
Fri 30 July – Sun 8 August 2021