Winton’s Musical Fence

The Opportunity

Develop an innovative cultural tourism attraction for the outback town of Winton that enhances and communicates an authentic sense of this Queensland place, while encouraging locals and visitors alike to come together and make music

The Outcome

In a world-first, QMF commissioned renowned percussionist and musical visionary Graeme Leak to create a unique musical instrument and attraction from an iconic outback feature—the wire fence.

Project Overview

Winton’s Musical Fence was commissioned by QMF in 2003. Created especially for the Winton community, local townspeople constructed individual sections of the fence, and jammed together at the celebratory unveiling.

After discovering Winton’s Musical Fence in 2008, Grammy Award-winning musician Gotye utilised the fence to create the bass line for the globally-successful track “Eyes Wide Open”, from 2013 platinum album Making Mirrors.

Since its commission, the Fence has become a part of the community’s lasting musical and creative legacy, and continues to inspire musicians, locals, and visitors alike.

Gotye – The Making of Eyes Wide Open

Winton is home to an odd instrument called the Musical Fence… This was a pretty exciting thing to discover. The night I spent sampling the musical fence was really windy, so I spent hours holding the recorder inside my jacket and shielding it from the wind… these sounds eventually became the bassline for the song “Eyes Wide Open.” When I got back from that Outback trip, I wrote the song on the piano in one fairly short sitting… The samples of the Winton Musical Fence suggested themselves immediately for the tone of the track, so they were the first piece of the puzzle to fit.

Gotye, The Making of Eyes Wide Open

This is a very nice musical note, but there are some very funny overtones in it that give it a unique character… I think it is not just unique to Australia, but as far as I know it is the only one of its kind in the world and I think that’s something we should all be proud of.

Graeme Leak, Creator


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