In January last year I stumbled on the recently painted silo in Brim, a small town in north-western Victoria. I wrote about it in a post entitled A Tale of Two Cities.
It proved a remarkable success and a major disruption to traffic for a while. By June it had spawned the idea of an art trail to attract tourists to a part of the state that is in need of a little love.
Poor old Patchewollock with its boarded up general store was the next town to receive an artistic baptism …
… by October Fintan Magee was hard at work painting a portrait of local man Nick Hulland.
If you’re tempted to take up silo painting have a look at Fintan in action in a series of slides from the Wimmera Mail-Times.
Sheep Hills doesn’t have a boarded up general store or even a working store but it does have a silo which is now beautifully painted by Melbourne street artist Adnate. The portraits are of local indigenous people.
Three more silos are on the drawing board at Rupanyup (starting in March), Lascelles and Rosebery.
The proper pronunciation of Rupanyup is not obvious. Start with the last syllable, forget the u and say Yip. Now for the middle syllable, forget the a and say pun. Put those together Punyip with the emphasis on the pun. Precede that with the Re from republic and you will be able to ask directions to … Re-punyip. It’s about 300km from Melbourne. No good asking directions until you get closer.
Sheep Hills is a little off the main road.
The only large(ish) town on the route is Warracknabeal. There is a road house on the highway, shops and accommodation can be found in town.
They are not as far apart as London and Paris but the rivalry is just as intense and the Brim Silos have really heated it up.
You will find them out in the dry west of Victoria, sheep wheat country. Warracknabeal has a population of about 2 400 people, about half the population are descended from Harry Yambiak and are named Smith, Jones, Scott or Brown. The rest are named Avery. The second greatest moment in the town’s history was the birth of its most famous son, Nick Cave. The greatest moment was when he went to live somewhere else.
The Council thought that the town lacked a little zing so they came up with the notion of some civic art. What an achievement …
It has never been accused of distracting passing drivers.
Twenty kilometres away is the little hamlet of Brim, population about 100 (261 at the last census but falling so fast 100 might be about right). The school closed in 2000, the pub closed in 2013. But when it comes to civic art they know how to do it …
… on a grand scale. Now that it’s completed it is a traffic hazard, the signs are out on the highway, the silos are being so frequently photographed that the image must be wearing away pixel by pixel.
The big story now is who are they? Are they real? The artist is a Queenslander, is that Joe Bjelke-Peterson? The official line is that they should not be seen as individuals but as representatives of the local folk. Fortunately my Warracknabeal correspondent is able to shed a little light on the matter. She has kindly provided the following photos.
From which we learn that the subjects are real and none of them are Joe Bjelke-Peterson.
Even before completion the people in Warracknabeal knew they were being shown up in a big way. Here are some that have driven over there to display their silo envy …
Footnote. If you have never heard of Nick Cave or Joe Bjelke-Peterson there is absolutely nothing to be gained by looking them up.