Field Trip! A letter to growers in FNQ.

Nice Pic


Dear Madam / Sir,

I’m writing to let you know about an exhibition at Cairns Art Gallery, opening in late November 2018. The exhibition will be an installation of current, local fruit and vegetable cartons from Far North Queensland, as a way to tell stories of this region through one of its main industry’s artwork.

I will be commencing a research trip to Far North Queensland, which will run from the 15th – 24th of May. You may have already read about the project in the February edition of Growcom’s monthly news magazine, Fruit & Vegetable News (included below in case you missed it). The purpose of this visit is to collect unused cartons directly from farmers in preparation for the exhibition in November.

During the research trip I will be located in Cairns and travelling to farms within an approximately 2-hour drive. This radius will encompass towns and their surrounding regions including Dimbulah, Mareeba, Innisfail, Tully, and everywhere in-between. I have included a map below of the region and the dates I plan to be in each place.  

I am collecting fruit and vegetable cartons and speaking to farmers about their story. All cartons that I can put a story to will be included in the display at the Cartonography exhibition in Cairns Art Gallery. The primary goal, however, is to collect cartons and meet with people, so if you have a fruit carton — or you know someone that does — I would love to get my hands on it.

On earlier research trips I have had the privilege of meeting farmers, orchardists, workers and packers, and asked them about what they do and how they came to be doing it. In some cases I have been able to put a story to the fruit carton itself, and perhaps how it is telling a story. In some instances farmers have been able to share older cartons that they once used, or other pieces from the farm’s history, including photographs and newspaper articles.

About Cartonography

Cartonography is an ongoing project to map fruit and vegetable cartons. The Cartonography collection is an ever-expanding, Australia-wide collection of cardboard fruit and vegetable cartons. Cartonography was established in 2014 as a collection that is catalogued according to each carton’s farm location. One of the central aims of Cartonography is to build an ongoing collection of fruit cartons and examine the various regional artwork styles that feature on them.

Bug’s Citrus, Dimbulah, Far North Queensland, Item number 17.9333 Each carton is given an identifying number, which is the first six digits of the farm’s latitude coordinates. For example Bug’s Citrus (pictured here) is item number 17.1933 in the collection, its farm coordinates being approximately -17.193333, 145.045147.

Cartonography does not seek only specific styles of fruit cartons – ALL fruit and vegetable cartons are important to the collection. So if your farm has its own fruit carton I would very dearly like it, please! You can see more about the collection and its various projects at

Far North Queensland is the region with the strongest representation of cartons in the Cartonography collection, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to visit the region and learn more about its people, its culture, its industry and its history. Although I may already have your carton, it would be great to obtain a fresh one for the exhibition in November (or a version of your carton that I don’t have), and also to put a face to people behind the fruit!

Please get in touch if you would like to chat before May and I hope to see you then.

Kind Regards,

Sean Rafferty





The research trip will visit the areas shown in the map above. Visit the Cartonograph at the following link to see where the cartons currently in the collection are located: Cartonograph


Growcom article
Growcom article in Fruit & Vegetable News on the Cartonography field trip. 

This project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

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