Throughout February this year I followed the Silo Art Trail in Western Victoria, an adventure that had been on my bucket list for some time. NOTE: If you follow my daily blog, The Daily Snail, you will have shared this journey with me as it happened.
I started from Rupanyup (Ruh-PAN-yup). These silos were painted by a Russian street artist Julia Volchkova and represent the youth of the area and their involvement in team sports.
What else is there to see in the area?
1. It’s only a two minute walk into town from the campground. Like many of these small towns there are many closed shops but there is a couple that cater to the tourist like the Teapot Cafe and the original Cust’s Store.
2. Next door to the campground there is the amazing Woods Museum. They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure and Woods Museum …. well, you can make your own mind up about it.
3. It’s an absolute must to travel west a few kilometres to Murtoa to view the ‘stick shed’, built during the second world war using the only materials available at the time – timber. It was a grain storage facility until fairly recently and is the only one of its kind still standing in the world.
I made myself comfortable in the great little campground at Rupanyup managed by the locals. It was dry and dusty as most of the country is at the moment, but was nestled on the banks of Dunmunkle Creek and only a short walk into town and to the silos. $10 a night for power, $1 for a 5 minute shower and toilet block open 24 hours. There is also a dump point.
The land throughout this whole area is dry, so dry. Most of the dams have very little water in them, if any, and the photo on the left shows you what the drive to Sheep Hills was like. The Silos were like a burst of colour in a barren landscape. They were painted by Melbourne street artist Adnate and you can find out about him and his inspiration for this silo art here.
Unfortunately the tourism factor was not enough to keep the local pub open and this wonderful old building is no longer pulling beers – or pulling crowds. I bet there’s been a few good yarns around the bar here over the years.
Guido van Helten would have to be one of my favourite silo artists. He captures the character of his subjects so well you feel like you’ve met them in the street, or at the bar, or over the fence. As an aside, the tree I parked under nearly stole the show – magnificent!
Although these silos dominate the local landscape they would be my least favourite on this Silo Art Trail – somehow they don’t seem quite so … momentous? The Rosebery Silos were painted by street artist Kaff-eine.
The silo on the left captures the grit, tenacity and character of the region’s young female farmers, who regularly face drought, fires and other hardships living and working in the Mallee. In her work shirt, jeans and turned-down cowboy boots, the strong young female sheep farmer symbolises the future.
Descriptions from siloarttrail.com
The silo on the right portrays a quiet moment between dear friends. The contemporary horseman appears in Akubra hat, Bogs boots and oilskin vest – common attire for Mallee farmers. Both man and horse are relaxed and facing downward, indicating their mutual trust, love and genuine connection.
Love these silos! When I first saw them I was a little disappointed as I thought the paintings were fading into the background of the silos but the more I studied them the more natural it seemed that these ‘locals’ were part of the environment, not separated from it. The couple are painted on the end wall of each silo and you can read about the artist, Rone, and his vision for these silos here.
I had an ‘overnighter’ at Lascelles, staying in the community campground with power, showers, toilets and water available for $10 a night. The bonus was it was next door to the pub so I wandered in for dinner, met some fellow travellers, and feasted on a good old pub parmy! (served by the cook with bare feet!)
Patchewollock is the northern most silo town in the Wimmera/Mallee area – the end of the trail ….
Completed in late 2016, the artist ……….. portrays an image of the archetypal Aussie farmer – faded blue “flanny” (flannelette shirt) and all. Hulland’s solemn expression, sun-bleached hair and squinting gaze speak to the harshness of the environment and the challenges of life in the Wimmera Mallee.
Description from siloarttrail.com
This whole Silo Art Trail is only about 200 kilometres from whoa to go and could easily be done in a day but if you are carrying your home with you, as I do, why not slow down and spend a little more time exploring the surrounding areas.