While New South Wales, parts of Queensland and north western Victoria face some of the worst drought in Australia’s history, some rural and outback towns are supporting their towns by attracting tourists to their region.
A new wave of creativity revitalising outback towns is giving a boost to local economies, particularly in Victoria’s west, where tourists can visit Australia’s largest outdoor gallery.
Stretching over 200km and through six country towns, disused grain silos have been given a makeover by local and international artists on their concrete canvases that reach the sky.
Celebrating sport, farming, indigenous people and country life, Victoria’s Silo Art Trail is a recent addition to the towns between Rupanyup and Lascelles, with the trail completed in 2017.
All Australian Journeys driver and hostess team Keith and Rose have personally followed the silo art trail through outback Victoria, with Keith providing the photos for this article and AAJ’s itineraries.
‘After seeing photos and reading articles on the Silo Art Trail, we thought we truly understood what they were about, but it wasn’t until we stood in front of them that we saw the enormous project undertaken by the artists,’ said Rose.
‘No photo does them true justice, it is not until you actually see the height of each silo and the curvature of each silo and reflect on how difficult they would have been to paint that it becomes apparent how much work has been put into them,’ said Keith.
Further north in Victoria, Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement has restored an authentic 19th century village, with working bakery, general store, blacksmith, music shop, print shop and Kaiser Stereoscopic Theatre. But it’s the first of its kind ‘Heartbeat of the Murray’ Laser Light Show that is wowing visitors to the village.
And in the small Victorian town of Boort, you can meet the ‘Spanner Man’, who creates larger than life sculptures entirely from spanners—antique, new and everything in between.
A farmer for more than three decades, when John Piccoli leased his farm, he began making sculptures with boxes of spanners from his shed. He has made more than 100 sculptures from over 100,000 spanners.
Join All Australian Journeys in April 2019, as we follow the Silo Art Trail through Victoria, explore the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement, learn of the Chinese experience of the gold rush at the Gum San Chinese Heritage centre in Ararat, cruise the Murray River on a historic paddlesteamer and visit the Spanner Man in Boort.