It's no secret country towns in Australia love all things 'big' but the trend of painting large-scale murals on old grain silos might just be our favourite yet. (Sorry Big Banana.)
The newest addition to Australia’s Silo Art Trail is called Hope and it popped up in the little town of St Arnaud between Ballarat and Mildura.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
The artist is a sixth-generation St Arnaud resident who understands the area as well as anyone. Kyle Torney has painted several large-scale portraits around his hometown but this is his biggest artwork yet.
Australia’s 38th set of painted silos, Hope took 800 hours of work for Torney to paint. He worked alone, making a whopping 30 to 40 trips up and down the silo each day.
The mural is a tribute to St Arnaud’s gold mining history and tells the story of three of the town’s pioneer residents. It was chosen by locals from four designs Torney had printed in the local paper.
The trend of painting decommissioned silos began in the farming town of Northam, WA before it exploded onto Victoria’s wheat belt. Breathing new life into small towns with beautiful art, the movement coaxes travellers off the highways and into our regional communities.
The first Victorian artwork appeared in the wheat farming town Brim in 2016, sparking the idea to create a larger-than-life art installation. Now spanning over 200km from St Arnaud to Rupanyup, the Silo Art Trail is Australia’s largest outdoor gallery.
The artwork along the trail celebrates the people of the Wimmera Mallee region. Painted by renowned Aussie and international artists including Melbourne street artist Rone, the humble portraits depict hard working farmers (one with his trusty kelpie at his side), Indigenous elders and children and young members of local sports teams. Overwhelmingly evident in each portrait is the subject’s connection to the land.
Now that regional travel is back on the agenda for Victorians, it’s time to make the pilgrimage to the wheat belt to see some incredible works of art.
You can find the Hope silo on McMahon Street, St Arnaud 3478.