17 August 2021

Masked up but still smiling, the Stumpy Family spreads some cheer

| Kim Treasure
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The Stumpy Family at Moruya

The Stumpy Family at Moruya is now sporting face masks. Photo: Facebook.

Moruya’s Stumpy Family has cheered up the community after bushfires and vandals, and now they are giving motorists a smile as they mask up for the COVID-19 lockdown.

The group of tree stumps beside South Head Road, on the way to Moruya Heads, has been dressed up to create community cheer for about three years now, and the family’s carer says it’s never been more important to put some laughter into the world.

The Stumpy Family has its own Facebook page and around 900 people follow their antics online, while countless others enjoy the landmark as they drive past.

The person behind the colourful characters calls herself the Stumpy Carer, and prefers to remain anonymous to maintain the mystery behind their appearance.

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She got the idea from a similar group near Shepparton, Victoria, where a friend had been dressing up stumps for more than 20 years.

“They even put up a mailbox and children write letters to them,” she says.

Despite the seriousness of the current COVID-19 situation, the Stumpy Carer wanted to provide some light relief by dressing the Stumpys in masks.

“But I hated the thought of covering up their smiles,” she says. “So I decided to put smiles on their masks so I can keep people smiling.

“It’s such a simple thing but I try to keep it positive. Some people are really battling at the moment and a smile can make all the difference.”

It hasn’t all been fun and games for the Stumpy Family. In the past, vandals have gone as far as painting over their faces and stripping their clothes.

One hater even went as far as complaining to council and having their faces sanded off, but the Stumpy Carer petitioned the Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor and they received official sanction.

Given the current tough times, the carer is hoping the critics just leave her Stumpys alone.

“I was going to give up on it a couple of times, but people would get in touch via the Facebook page and say, ‘Please don’t,'” she says.

READ MORE Stumpy Family back to give treemendous thanks to bushfire volunteers

“People can have the worst day but when they drive past and see the Stumpys’ smiling faces they leave all their cares behind them.”

The last word goes to the Stumpy Family, via their Facebook page:

“We know smiles are hard to find at the moment, but masks are going to be a part of life for a while so we have to do the right thing and mask up. But we know how much joy our smiles bring to everyone so we are wearing them on the outside!

“If you decide to do the same thing, send us a photo. Look after each other during lockdown, check in on single or elderly friends, and keep smiling.”

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