The Pinnaroo heART Project

The Pinnaroo Project is a creative community-wide, health improvement project which has been established by Mallee Arts and the Pinnaroo community to address the lack of locally available health services in regional communities. The Pinnaroo Project aims to improve the health and wellbeing of residents through community engagement and participation in various art and cultural activities over a 2-3 year period.

A research team from Flinders University, led by Robyn Clark are managing the research component of the project. Health data has been and will continue to be collected from the Pinnaroo residents at the beginning, during and at the end of the project.

In order to evaluate both the physical and mental aspects of health, the residents will complete a health and lifestyle questionnaire and brief set of clinical measurements such as blood pressure, height, weight, and a finger-prick test for blood sugar and cholesterol. This collection of data will be evaluated to hopefully prove a correlation between the participation in art and wellbeing events and the positive impact on health within the community.

It’s a unique and exciting project for the small town of Pinnaroo and if the results show promise, similar projects could be introduced into other regional communities in order to reduce strain on already limited health services.

“The pursuit of art on a regular basis may be the key to healing our minds and bodies”

— Kim Blair

Meet the

Leadership team

This project wouldn’t be possible without committed community engagement and our team of dedicated representatives. The project is primarily led by a Leadership team that consists of health, research, arts, regional development and local community representatives. Their role is to oversee the development and delivery of the project including day-to-day operations, developing stakeholder and funding relationships and keeping up with community consultation. Our fantastic team have launched this project off the ground and with their combined skills and knowledge are sure to produce fantastic results for the project overall.

Debrah Colwill
Co-chair of the Steering Group

Deb is a Mallee resident with a Doctorate in Ag Science and a life-long passion for dance.  She brings a unique perspective and skills to the team.  A passionate community member with many local connection including schools, Mallee Arts group, local dance instructor with DanceSA, and running a farming business with her husband.  Deb is excited about wellbeing and connections.

Julie Wallis
Co-chair of the Steering Group

Julie is a long term Pinnaroo resident and an accomplished artist too. From her studio in Pinnaroo Julie not only provides hair and beauty services but also creates handcrafted glass and jewellery. She is passionate about the arts and the health and wellbeing benefits related to it and is excited to see how the project progresses in the community.

Di Thornton

Di is Pinnaroos local nurse practitioner and owner of Mallee Border Health. She is passionate about the health and wellbeing in regional communities and is very aware of the limits community members face in order to receive adequate health care. She brings a unique perspective to the project and is passionate about its outcome.

Jason Taylor

Jason is the is the Southern Mallee District Council Chief Executive Officer. He is passionate about building community vibrancy and liveability by improving services, facilities, economy and the general streetscape appeal of the area. As a big picture thinker he has successfully implemented improvements large and small within the community economy, tourism and visual.

Rebecca Niejalke

Bec is a passionately active community member. Personal fitness Instructor and co-founder of the Pinnaroo Fitness, Health & Wellness Inc, local nurse. Bec brings high energy and devotion to everything she is involved in. She had a deep care for everyone and the future of our local community from young too older.

Sunyl Vogt

Sunyl is the Pinnaroo Primary School Principal and long term Pinnaroo resident. Passionate about young people getting to experience many different opportunities and achieving to the best of their abilities, no matter where they have come from. An enthusiastic community member who enjoys participating in many local sports.

Penelope Cowley

Penelope (PJ) is a local community resident and Senior Project Officer with the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and skills, especially in the area of health, project management and consumer engagement.

Tracey Daniel

Tracey is a local resident, mallee arts, and entrepreneur currently managing director with skills and foucs in business development , team building and brand awareness. Tracey is a keen advocate on mental health awareness and loves being creative, thriving on connection with people.

Ali Krolling

Ali is a past resident of Pinnaroo having spent her formative years in our district and who continues to have a strong bond to where she grew up.   Ali is a creative, proactive enabler and facilitator in the health space whose focus is on ensuring people in country South Australia, especially those who are vulnerable and or disadvantaged, have equity and access to health services that support their health and wellbeing. 

Alison Howard

Alison is the creative producer at Country Arts SA. Country Arts SA delivers a Statewide Arts & Health program that seeks to increase opportunities for social connection using arts and culture as a means to improve health and wellbeing, creating pathways to resilience.

Maz McGann

Arts and Cultural Management Consultant, Play Your Part

The project so far


Research Participants


Completed workshops