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    Artist Julia Woolf Volchkova painted the Rupanyup Silo in 2017.

Anxiety over silo trail name


A Wimmera-Mallee municipal leader has stood his ground on a move to trademark the phrase ‘silo art trail’. 

Yarriambiack Shire Council mayor Graeme Massey said having recognition as the first local government area in Australia to start the art trail was the focus of the move.  

The council presented a 400-page legal argument to national trademark agency IP Australia in 2017 to secure rights on the phrase. 

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GrainCorp, which owns some of the painted silos across Australia, lodged its own legal argument to the trademark agency in 2018 to formally oppose the council’s claim. 

Cr Massey said the council expected a decision within three months.  

“All we wanted to do was protect the marketing we’ve done on the silo art trail – it’s a name we’ve used since 2016,” he said. 

“We’re asking for the phrase to be trademarked so recognition can be paid to Yarriambiack Shire as the place where the original trail started.

“We’re not asking for any money. All stakeholders will have to do is display our logo on any written promotional material, if the trademark is approved.” 

Yarriambiack Shire is home to six painted silos, stretching from Rupanyup in the shire’s south to Lascelles in the north. 

There are 45 silo-art projects across Australia, and silo art trails in five states. 

Cr Massey said the council had concerns the shire would be forgotten as home of the original silo art trail as the concept grew across the country. 

“We just want to protect our contribution to the silo-art concept,” he said.

Cr Massey said the council had helped other communities in pursuing silo-art projects. 

“We’ve told others how to negotiate with GrainCorp and how to get grants or work with street-art network Juddy Roller to get artists – we’ve not stood in anyone’s way and not asked for one dollar from anyone,” he said. 

Wide network

GrainCorp has, since 2015, supported 14 silo-art projects across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Its corporate affairs manager Jessica Simons said it would be unfair to expect other councils to acknowledge Yarriambiack Shire in their tourism marketing.

“We can’t imagine councils in other communities want to promote Yarriambiack every time they try to attract tourists to their region,” she said. 

“Our biggest concern is that other stakeholders won’t be able to use the phrase – that would be a real shame, because it’s now such a commonly used phrase.” 

She said GrainCorp believed Yarriambiack Shire Council’s move could complicate regional communities’ ability to market their silo art trails.

The entire February 17, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!