Artwork in the Library Artwork in the Library

A number of artworks by local artists are on display in the library or feature in the library's interior design.  Learn more about these artworks and the artists who created them. 

Ecosystem Artworks

Chip Check Mates


Nancy Cato

National Park

Peter Carnavas


Ecosystem Artworks.

About the Project


In 2013, the Noosa Integrated Catchment Association (NICA) launched an initiative to encourage the use of Noosa’s native plants in local design and tourism promotion in favour of what was seen as an overuse of palm, frangipani and hibiscus emblems.   A joint project was developed by NICA and Noosa Library Service to invite local artists to submit expressions of interest to develop artworks representing one of six local ecosystems: Seacoast and Foredunes, Tidal Wetlands (estuary), Fresh Water Wetlands (upper river), Heathlands/Wallum, Eucalypt Forest, and Rainforest. The aim was to increase community awareness, knowledge, value and pride in the importance of place defined by local ecosystems and biodiversity. The artists selected were Fiona Cocks, Michele Knightley, Motoyuki Niwa, Warren Salter, Susan Schmidt, and Leni Semmelink. The project was coordinated by Maree Prior and was funded through grants from the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF), Arts Queensland and Sunshine Coast Council. 


The completed artworks were digitally scanned and then printed as fabric banners.  These banners formed a touring exhibition that travelled to Noosa Regional Gallery (as part of Floating Land), the Outrigger Resort, The J Noosa, Maroochy Arts and Ecology Centre, and World Environment Day activities at University of the Sunshine Coast.  At the end of the touring schedule, the banners were hung in Noosaville Library.  Noosaville Library underwent refurbishment in 2018 and the ecosystem artworks feature in new design elements in the library.

     Fiona Cocks 

     Estuary Tidal Wetlands 2013

Artist's Statement


"I have a long-held fascination with the watery world of the mangroves, and my aim was to represent estuaries as a place of beauty and life. Through bright and lively colours, I challenge the perception that mangroves are an unpleasant, muddy and murky place. 


The clever tricks employed by different types of mangroves in order to survive and thrive in a salty tidal environment are a source of wonder for me. The web of arch-shaped stilt roots of the Red Mangrove and its spidery tangle provides protection from the currents and waves, as well as a means of trapping organic matter.  The falling leaves in my painting reference the importance of leaf litter in the ecosystem; this rich store of decaying debris provides food for a range of life forms, from creatures too small to see to the fish that breed here."

     Michele Knightley 

     Freshwater Wetlands 2013

Artist's Statement


"Living at Cootharaba on the upper Noosa River, I have a strong personal connection to the freshwater wetlands of the Noosa Biosphere. The unique tannin stained waters and surrounding sedges are full of life. Tiny sundews spread their sticky leaves in the hope of catching a small insect meal.


The Cooloola sedge frog hides amongst the reeds, and is often heard before it is seen. Delicate ferns and flowers like the woolly frogsmouth entwine themselves throughout the gently swaying sedges. To fully appreciate the wonders of the freshwater wetlands, you must look and listen closely, for many of its gems are tiny or inconspicuous.  


I feel so lucky to live adjacent to this vibrant yet peaceful environment." 

     Motoyuki Niwa 

     In the name of Water, Forest 

     and Spirit (The Eucalypt

     Forest) 2013 

Artist's Statement


"The work represents an ever-changing dynamism of water cycles between forest, land and atmosphere. 


Dreaming about the memory of forests, before Aboriginal people, and far before stone age people walked around the forests of giant trees, even before plants took the shape of a tree… 


The work also represents the memory of forests. The water flows inside the vascular bundle; flows through from the land via roots and is carried to the tips of the leaves. Long ago the plants lived in the water and gradually shifted to the land, some eventually to stand upright. The water contains the entire memory of plants’ evolution and design processes, and witnesses countless events occurring in the planet… "

     Warren Salter 

     Down by the Sea 2013 

Artist's Statement


"I live in walking distance of Sunshine Beach, so I was overjoyed at being asked to interpret the ecosystem of seacoast and foredunes. My focus was to try and create ‘a sense of place’ whilst including familiar flora and fauna species to the area.


Using a graphic style, I wanted to convey the concept of the ‘beach’ environment in an immediately obvious way to the viewer, giving access to a broad audience while paying attention to maintaining flexibility that the design might lend itself to commercial application.


On further contemplation, the subtleties of natural erosion, headland life and tenacity of flora and fauna in this beautifully harsh and unstable environment come to mind. It was indeed fortuitous in the course of painting this picture that I was able to watch the annual nesting season of the loggerhead turtles at Sunshine Beach."

     Susan Schmidt 

     Rainforest 2013 

Artist's Statement


"Rainforest, so much to look at and so many points of focus; the canopy above, the tangle all around and the littered floor below. My biggest challenge was to represent the atmosphere of these three ‘planes’ of the habitat in an uncluttered design suitable for a banner. 


My finished work focuses on the elements that resonate with me as uniquely rainforest. Quiet, intimate, dank and dark broken by shafts of light and illuminated by spots of colour of new growth, like ‘Smilax australis’, glowing red across my path, contrasting muted shades of green, impossible to ignore. Layers of vegetation and silhouetted species compete for survival in the interplay of filtered light, and tree trunks patterned with moss emerge from the dimness. 


A delicate ecological balance of decay and regeneration."

     Leni Semmelink 

     Wallum Heath 2013

Artist's Statement


"Old man banksia lent over with his gnarled limbs, burdened with a hundred pods on every arm, each with many mouths chattering and telling stories and laughing and groaning but as they saw me they all froze, looking at me with crazy gaped mouths, silent. 


The unique shapes found in the flora around Noosa give it distinct character and deserve to be appreciated and celebrated. The successions of varying ecosystems that change in correspondence with the conditions provided by the terrain create an endless supply of fascination."



   Chip Check Mates.

    Phil Willy 

    Chip Check Mates 2017 
     Recycled computer chips, steel,

     wood and ceramics 

Artist's Statement


"In this new era of computers able to defeat the then reigning world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, I see the next step in advanced chess play being computer against computer. Here I have depicted two players, [both computers], facing off in a surreal depiction of that match. 

All materials used in this sculpture are recycled from computers or collected from tips, except the fired ceramics. 

Note: For pedantics like me, the board shows the actual position in game 16 of the World Championship match between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, London/Leningrad 1986, after move 36." 


About Phil Willy 


As a child I made numerous models of ships, planes, railways and people by carving, cutting and sticking using balsa, cardboard, plaster and wire. In the mid 1980’s after some wheel throwing of clay pots, I took up ceramic handbuilding and progressed through functional ware, Australiana, masks, portraiture, figurative, and stylised figurative clay work. Next I changed media to cement fondu, plaster mould making, fibre glass, bronze and aluminium casting, fine furniture making (10 years), back to ceramics, large figures, welded wire, concrete, found object and recycled materials and multiple ceramic figures in surreal surroundings. 

I love seeing all sculpture, and some inspire me to improve my own work. Each day, I approach my studio/workspace with an inner rising excitement, a desire to create a new sculpture. 






     Matt Godden 

     C45C4D3 2011 

      Recycled computer motherboards



Artist's Statement


"C45C4D3 is a work that celebrates the material beauty of eWaste. The individual golden computer motherboards reminiscent of panels in Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise on the Florence Baptistry, are arranged in a cascading progression from order to chaos, creating a three dimensional form, which references paintings by Rothko and Barnett Newman. The complexity, richness, and detail of the motherboards, are presented in contrast to the featureless, black rectangle over which they pour and tumble. Both are connected, literally, through a common material language of nuts and bolts, which suspend the motherboards in front of their background, and the background out from the wall." 


 About Matt Godden


Matt Godden is a multi-disciplinary artist, whose practice covers sculpture, photography, and graphic novels. With a background in design and education, and an established graphic novel practice, he enrolled at the National Art School in Darlinghurst, Sydney, to learn about messy, hands-on, analog techniques. Originally intending to study painting, after a year rotating through all the major studio disciplines: painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, & ceramics, he was enraptured by working in three dimensions, choosing Sculpture as his studio major, and falling in love with welded steel and eWaste. In 2012, he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Sculpture, receiving the National Art School Sydney Olympic Park Sculpture Residency in the process. The following year, he was awarded the Australia Council’s ArtStart Grant. In 2014, he travelled to New Zealand, to visit the privately-held Gibbs Farm Sculpture Collection, and exhibited The Metaning  (, a 22 page “wall-scale” comic book. With each page 113 x 82cm in size, it is considered to be the first full-length, single-creator work of this kind, made within Australian comics. Matt relocated from Sydney to Noosa in 2015, and produced his most recent large sculptural work for the 2018 staging of the musical Rent, at QPAC, Brisbane. This work was designed in Virtual Reality, during a residency at the Cooroy Library Makerspace. After completing his residency, Matt has continued as the ongoing Artist In Residence for Noosa Library Service. 



   Nancy Cato.

     Emma Freeman 

     Nancy Cato 1991 

      Oil on canvas 

About the artist and subject


Emma Freeman (1922-2015) moved from Sydney to Noosa Heads as a young nurse in the 1950s.  She married local man Kevin Freeman, raised their family of four children, and soon became well known in the area as a conservationist, artist, author and playwright. 


Nancy Cato (197-2000) was an Australian author, her most famous work being the novel and subsequent television mini-series All the Rivers Run.  Nancy was also a Noosa icon for her passionate work campaigning on environmental and conservation issues.


Emma and Nancy first met in 1967 when Nancy moved from Adelaide to Noosa and attended one of Emma’s art classes. The two soon became firm friends and compatriots in local environmental causes. Emma painted the portrait of Nancy that hangs in Noosaville Library to commemorate Nancy being made an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Queensland in 1990 for her services to literature and the environment.



   National Park.

     Hal Barton 

     National Park 1983 

      Oil on canvas 

About the artist


Hal Barton (1927-2015) had a passion from his early childhood for immortalizing the land. He gained his early art training at the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts and benefited from tuition by returning official war artists and Sir Hans Heysen. He was renowned for his ability to capture the natural light of the Australian bush.  Hal also painted still-lifes and beach scenes.  Born in South Australia, Hal and his wife Christa moved to the Sunshine Coast in 1972 and lived in Eumundi and the Noosa Shire for 35 years.


About the subject


Noosa National Park sits at the southern end of iconic Hastings Street in Noosa Heads. It features some of South East Queensland's most picturesque scenery including secluded beaches, rugged coastline, and ocean vistas as well as rainforest, open woodlands and heathlands.  The park continues down the coastline through Peregian to Emu Mountain and Coolum.  It is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora, including koalas, glossy black-cockatoos and vivid wildflowers in spring.  The National Park’s beauty is captured in many of Barton’s paintings.


Peter Carnavas artworks.



About the Artist


Peter Carnavas has been writing and illustrating books since his first picture book, Jessica’s Box, came out in 2008.  Prior to that he was a primary school teacher.  Peter’s books have been shortlisted for many awards. Blue Whale Blues was awarded the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Crystal Kite Award in 2016 and My Sister is a Superhero (written by Damon Young) won an Australian Book Industry Award in 2017. His books have been translated into many languages. Peter lives on the Sunshine Coast.


For the Noosaville Library refurbishment project, Peter worked with the library to develop artworks based on his 2012 picture book The Children who Loved Books and the local environment.  These artworks are featured in the Children’s area.