Thousands travel to the region’s silo art trail

By Alana Christensen

In past years it would have been rare to see a traffic jam in the country towns of Goorambat, Devenish and St James, but with thousands of visitors travelling to see the towns’ silo art, it was a welcome occurrence.

Artists in all three towns were hard at work during the Wall to Wall Festival weekend on April 6 and 7, with locals thrilled to see so many people stopping in their towns.

Goorambat Community Group president Greg Gall said about 3000 people made their way through town during the festival, with the whole town coming together to hold a number of events, including a craft fair and dinner under the lit-up silos.

‘‘There were people all over the place, at one point I even had to get someone directing traffic,’’ he said.

‘‘We had lots of people from Melbourne and all over the place ... lots of people just enjoyed coming out to a little country town.

‘‘People just loved it, it was crazy every day ... It was great for the little town and wouldn’t have been possible without all the volunteers, it was a great community effort.’’

Melbourne artist Jimmy DVate returned one year after completing a silo artwork in the town to create a new addition on its metal silo.

‘‘It’s just some brilliant work from Jimmy. The detail has to be seen — and we’re just so fortunate to have a man with his talent showcase our community to the country and potentially the world,’’ Mr Gall said.

‘‘We’ve got a nice little trail now in the north-east with all the towns.’’

The town of St James also welcomed back its artist Cam Scale to complete the latest artwork — adding a Lighthorseman to the World War I nurse and modern-day army medic — which was officially opened on Sunday, April 14.

Devenish Silo Art Committee member Kevin Mitchell said there were hundreds of people visiting the town every day.

‘‘There’s been cars all week, the traffic has been non-stop ... every time you go there’d be 10 or 20 people there,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s quite amazing, there’s such a little trail now and the artwork is so brilliant on all of them. It’s an exciting drive.’’

St James Silo Art Committee secretary Kathy Beattie said interest in the GrainCorp silos had been so strong that there was ‘‘just about a traffic jam’’ in the town from the number of visitors coming to see the silos.

‘‘The number of people that have come to see it would be in the thousands ... It’s incredible,’’ she said.

‘‘There’s very seldom a time when you come into town and not have people there. It’s just incredible.’’

With work on the silo painted by Benalla artist Timothy Bowtell almost completed, the town is planning an official opening on April 28 at 11am.

About 20 of the Coles family will make their way to the small town to officially open the silo, which depicts a portrait of Coles’ founder George Coles and his iconic St James shopfront.

Mrs Beattie said Mr Coles’ daughter Janice would cut the ribbon, officially marking the completion of the silo art.

‘‘The Coles family are very excited, they’re just over the moon,’’ she said.

With a donation tin already in place, Mrs Beattie said work was continuing on a viewing platform for the silo.