The Maryborough Rotary Peace Pole

Artists: Willy Paes, Aaron Henderson, Samala Cronin

A project of the Rotary Clubs in Maryborough, the Maryborough Rotary Peace Pole was planned as a piece of public art that links our quest for peace firmly in our local community.  Conceived by then President of Maryborough-Sunrise Club, Maria Carkagis and designed by local artist and club member, Willy Paes, the Peace Poles have been designed to fit and reflect the site near the Brolga Theatre.

Consisting of three distinct pieces, the three poles unite as one work – symbolising our need to move forward together. The pieces range up to 5m in height.

Originally designed as a composite piece, the final work consists of three distinct elements set in a defined base:

1. Peace Pole constructed in weathered steel left over from the Gallipoli to Armistice project and donated by the Maryborough RSL Club, laser cut with the Peace Poles wording ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ in multiple languages including the local indigenous Butchulla language, English, Japanese and Mandarin, and languages reflecting the immigrants who entered Australia through Maryborough.  This piece represents the steel buildings of the former Wilson and Hart Sawmill and the City’s manufacturing industry.

2. Carved Timber log - rescued from the bank of the Mary River near Tiaro. This piece is carved to depict local flora and fauna connected to the Mary River, land animals and birds.  The piece represents the Timber City and timber industry and the former Wilson and Hart Sawmill.  Sited above the ground to minimise white ant and water damage, it is supported by steel pieces on either side, and is capped with weathered steel to stop water penetration.

3. Steel column containing panels inset displaying local indigenous art on glass by two local Butchulla artists, Aaron Henderson and Samala Cronin.

This project commenced in 2019 and came to fruition in May 2022, when the Poles were installed in the pathway leading to the Brolga Theatre. Rotary Project managers were members Stephen Best and Robyn Dowling. The Rotary Club of Maryborough-Sunrise held the dedication of the Peace Pole on Wednesday 21 September 2022, International Day of Peace.

What is a Peace Pole?

A Peace Pole is a hand-crafted monument that displays the message May Peace Prevail on Earth, on each of its sides, usually in different languages.  There are tens of thousands of Peace Poles in 180 countries all over the world dedicated as monuments to peace.  They serve as constant reminders for us to visualize world peace.  Peace Poles come in many shapes and sizes from a standard, pre-made modular pole that just needs to be ‘planted’ through to stunning hand-crafted works of art that speak specially of its community.

The Peace Pole project being developed by the Rotary Club of Maryborough – Sunrise falls into the latter variety. This Peace Pole is numbered 27 of 100 Peace Poles in Australia, a project to commemorate 100 years of Rotary in Australia in 2021.

Rotary and Peace

One of the seven areas of Focus where Rotary International concentrates its efforts is in the area of Peace Building and Conflict Prevention.  Through our service projects, Peace Fellowships, and scholarships, our members are taking action to address the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.  Clubs support peace in a myriad of ways from raising awareness of bullying, to helping to protecting domestic violence survivors and their families.

  • 65 million people are currently displaced by armed conflict or persecution
  • $ 142 million has been raised by Rotary to support peace
  • 100 peace fellowships are offered each year at Rotary Peace Centres around the world – including at the University of Queensland and more than 1,000 students have graduated from Rotary’s Peace Centres programs.

Photos courtesy of Rotary Club of Maryborough – Sunrise, Daniel Sanderson, Amanda Kratzmann.

Project Support

Significant support has been provided to this project by the local business community and we thank those who donated time and materials to bring this project together. We wish to make specific mention of the assistance given by Fraser Coast Regional Council and staff throughout the life of this project.

This project has been proudly supported by –

Peace Poles Support Lock-up


Special Thanks

Willy Paes, artist

Aaron Henderson, artist

Samala Cronin, artist