Valley Gallery

Visitors flocking to silo art trail

By Alana Christensen

From Western Australia to NSW and even those who live just down the road, silo art is drawing visitors to three northern Victorian towns.

Having only completed their silo in April, Devenish Silo Art Committee chair Kevin Mitchell said the town had been thrilled with the response to the artwork by Cam Scale.

‘‘I was down there (on Friday) and even in the wet there were 20 people out there,’’ Mr Mitchell said.

‘‘I’d estimate we’ve had 5000 people come through since the opening and 1700 sign the visitors’ book. They’ve come from virtually everywhere.’’

The Anzac Day-inspired artwork, which depicts a World War I nurse and a current day army medic, will soon be joined by an artwork on the metal silo in the lead-up to Remembrance Day in November.

Mr Mitchell said the artwork had not only helped to bring more people to the town, but stimulate a conversation.

‘‘It’s interesting even watching locals have a chat with all the visitors. It’s communication between complete strangers who don’t know each other at all,’’ he said.

Since the completion of their town’s silo in March, Goorambat Hotel owners Jacqui Coleman and Mark Beavis said they had experienced a notable upturn in business.

Having owned the pub since August, Ms Coleman said the silo had seen more people visit the town for lunch and on weekends.

‘‘There’s been a lot more traffic throughout the week and just people coming in for lunch,’’ she said.

‘‘Lots of people from Benalla have come and dropped in and a lot of them didn’t even know we were here — and that’s 15km up the road.

‘‘It’s definitely been significant and the locals have been supportive and have been bringing people along to see it.’’

The town of Tungamah was the first to complete silo art in northern Victoria, after Broome artist Sobrane Simcock finished the painting in February, and many visitors are taking advantage of the three silos’ close proximity, travelling along the emerging trail to see each one.

As the number of towns with silo art continues to grow, locals in other towns are getting behind the idea.

With recent bank closures and the closure of Murray Goulburn’s processing factory in the heart of town, Rochester resident Robert McCormick believes silo art would be a captivating spectacle.

Having also spent many years living in Elmore, he believes the location of the silos in both towns — Elmore’s silo is on Midland Hwy and the Rochester silo is just off Northern Hwy — provided the perfect opportunity to attract people to visit the towns.

‘‘It would be a real boost for the towns,’’ he said.

‘‘They’re in a great spot, right there when you drive into town, and they’d look great painted,’’ Mr McCormick said.