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01 July 2020
BY DYLAN DE JONG
Concept designs for a major mural project has brought Hindmarsh Shire a step closer to joining the iconic Silo Art Trail.
Tourism officer Jeff Woodward expects painting to start on a privately owned silo in the remote locality of Albacutya, north of Rainbow, in late July.
Mr Woodward said the latest addition to the world’s largest outdoor art gallery would help connect the east and west parts of the art trail, along with Lake Tyrrell.
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“We were looking strategically at how we could expand the trail and the location was very important to create a northern link across from the painted silos in Yarriambiack Shire,” he said.
“Rainbow will get the economic benefits of this silo. It will bring tourists down through the whole shire to Jeparit, Rainbow, Dimboola and Nhill.”
Melbourne artist Kitt Bennett, who is known for his illustrative murals on unconventional surfaces, was selected to paint the silo.
The Albacutya silo will be his second mural in the Wimmera, after Yarriambiack Shire Council commissioned Bennett to paint a mural at Beulah’s community hall earlier this year.
Mr Woodward said Bennett’s design would reflect ‘the larrikin’ personality present in farming communities.
“I don’t want to go into too much detail with the final design yet, but we chose Kitt because of his caricature, cartoon-type style,” he said. “We wanted to try to capture that larrikin aspect of the farming community and there will be lots of subtleties that give a nod to Rainbow and the local farming communities.
“This is the first one in Hindmarsh and to the west of the Silo Art Trail, so we wanted to come out with a bang.”
Mr Woodward said once the mural was completed, he hoped Hindmarsh businesses could spring-board off the expected increase in flow of tourism when COVID-19 restrictions eased.
“This trail has demonstrated in the past it will bring people to the area,” he said.
“It will be up to the local businesses to leverage off that.
“Wimmera Mallee Tourism is looking at how to best support these businesses and other tourist attractions.”
Mr Woodward also expects the painted silo to include an augmented reality feature, adding to the immersive experience the trail offers its visitors.
The painted Albacutya silo links into an overarching Wimmera Development Association Destination Management Plan, in collaboration with Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership and other key stakeholder groups, which aims to bolster tourism in the region.
Leaders expect the next silos to be painted will be at Goroke, Kaniva and Serviceton to link into the overall trail.
West Wimmera Shire mayor Bruce Meyer said his council was working with GrainCorp to finalise occupational health and safety protocols at the chosen sites.
“It has been held up as GrainCorp had to do an OHS assessment and because of COVID-19 restrictions on movements,” he said.
“They’ll be going ahead, it’s just a matter of tidying up some loose ends.”
Wimmera Mallee Tourism executive officer Lauren McBriarty said it was now a waiting game for restrictions to ease to see a renewed flow of visitor numbers through the region.
“We’re still in the ‘plan your road trip’ phase. As soon as restrictions ease again, people can come out to our area,” she said.
“It’s very sad for our area which relies on tourism. A lot of our cafes and shops are struggling to stay open.”
Ms McBriarty encouraged Wimmera residents to explore more of the region.
“Explore your own back yard. Hopefully people will visit more of Victoria,” she said.
“In the immediate term, within the next three months, we’re going to be heavily focussed on the Victorian market.
“From three to six months we’re going to be focused on the southern part of New South Wales and the border with South Australia, and a year from now we’ll start refocusing on the international markets visiting destinations like Lake Tyrell following the Silo Art Trail.”
The entire July 1, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!