The NFS produced fish mobiles, stickers and Murray cod balloons, as a fundamental engagement tool for school children. At several events fish murals and Indigenous dot paintings and hand paintings were created, which allowed participation of a broad audience.
During the Native Fish Awareness Week in 2010, the NFS Coordinator and the Marysville Triangle Arts Group worked with a local wire sculptor to create wire fish. This included a large fish that children worked on together which were then displayed in their local schools, as well as smaller wire fish that children could make and then take home. Adding other crafty material to the wire fish made for an amazing and colourful assortment of fish.
For many years, the Victorian DSE had wanted to engage with the Marysville community about the nationally threatened Barred galaxias, but had made only limited progress. Following the destruction of the Black Saturday 2009 bushfires however, the strong synergies between the plight of the local community and the Barred galaxias became powerfully apparent. Both had lost their homes and had to relocate for a time before being able to return.
There was an incredible response across Australia with people wanting to help the Marysville community, with donations being received which were diverse and abundant. An example included hundreds of inner soles donated by a Melbourne shoe factory which was closing down. The Triangle Arts Group in Marysville liaised with the NFS Coordinator to identify how these materials could be used to link in with the 2010 launch of Native Fish Awareness Week in Marysville. Since inner soles are similar in shape to a fish, this provided a great opportunity for the community to create their own Barred galaxias, with four schools participating.
Over time, the Marysville Triangle Arts Group continued to use the inner soles. By the next April hundreds of inner sole fish had been produced, which were then stapled to sticks. During a significant publicity event to open a new adventure playground in the town, there was a procession which ended with the stick fish being ‘planted’ in the local creek to represent a temporary art installation.
This experience demonstrated how art’s creative process helped local people in their healing after trauma, through bringing people together to express their emotions. It also created a strong and lasting connection between the local community and the Barred Galaxias.