The Silo Art Trail in the Wimmera Mallee region of Australia is one of the biggest outdoor galleries in the world. It’s an area where grain silos have decorated the landscape for years. This is farming land but now many of those silos have been painted with huge murals from some of the worlds best street artists.
It’s hardly what you’d expect in an area which boasts fields as far as the eye can see. Spreading over an area known as the Wimmera Mallee, the Silo Art Trail has breathed new life into communities which have long needed a boost. The first mural in the town of Brim was painted in 2015. It’s become a real tourist attraction
Silo Art in Australia
In this part of Australia you’ve got to get used to travelling. The whole silo art trail is over 270km long. So far extending to seven silos across the Mallee there are also a couple of additional pieces dotted around. Many of the artists needed to live in the vicinity over the time spent creating the works. Their inspirations taken from the people and the land.
The Wimmera Mallee is a land worth exploring and the silo art gallery in this part of Australia gives the traveler a great opportunity to learn about this unique part of the country. People have worked the land here for years. With this in mind, the silos are more than just art. They are an opportunity to learn about the people who have lived here and those who indeed still call it home.
Silo Art Trail Gallery
The following order is the best way to see the trail. Rupanyup is the southern most location. It’s then a 158km drive to Patchewollock at the top end of the trail. From Patchewollock you’ll then need to head south again. This time to Nullawil via Sea Lake which is another 123km. This is the best way to see everything if your going to do it well.
Rupanyup – Julia Volchkova (2017)
First on the Silo Art Trail at the southern end is Rupanyup. It is also the only mural to have been painted onto steel grain silos. As such it’s also the smallest silo on the trail, yet once you’re in front of it you wouldn’t know that. The artist is Julia Volchkova, a Russian painter from Siberia. Her mural shows two delicate portraits. Blending in against the metal exterior of the silo her work shows two local young people, Ebony Baker and Jordan Weidemann. Julia wanted to create a piece which captured the importance of sport and community in rural areas. Ebony is pictured wearing her netball outfit whilst Jordan is shown in his Aussie Rules kit.
Sheep Hills – Adnate (2016)
There’s not much at Sheep Hills other than the grain silos. What is there is covered by a giant colourful mural from Melbourne artist Adnate. Celebrating the indigenous culture of the area the piece is about the transferring of knowledge from old to young. It features local children Curtly McDonald,9 and Savannah Marks, 2. They are set against the backdrop of a balmy Wimmera evening with the vast landscape of the land and sky set behind. Looking inwards are elders from the indigenous Wergeia and Wotjobaluk groups, Ron Marks and Regina Hood.
Brim – Guido van Helten (2015)
The tiny hamlet in Brim was the first to get a mural as part of the Silo Art Gallery. Created by Melbourne’s Guido van Helten it showcases the resilience and strength of the local farming community. The mural explores the notions of community at a time when rural populations are in decline and facing pressure. The people shown, blend into the background of the silo as if one with it just as they are one with the land. Van Helten wanted the identities to remain unknown. “I don’t want this to be about individual people specifically”, he told ABC Rural. “It’s about this place, it’s about the community and, on a broader scale, the whole Wimmera region. If you leave the anonymity to these people and people see whoever they want to see, they can have their own connection to the work.”
Rosebery – Kaff-eine (2017)
Melbourne’s Katt-eine created a work at the Rosebery silo which she says embodies the regions past, present and future. Showing a young female sheep farmer on the left with an older male horseman on the right, this is about different generations. At both times the work symbolises the future whilst gazing a emotive eye to the past. The woman stands confidently despite the hardships faced in the Mallee, sheep farming is still an important industry for the area. The man meanwhile nestles comfortably with his horse, their mutual trust and understanding of one another, the results of a lifelong connection. “I want to display the relationship between us and the land”, she told the Mail Times.
Patchewollock – Fintan Magee (2016)
The northern most small town on the silo art trail is Patchewollock. There, it’s giant grain silo shows an image of a man looking out onto the plains. From Brisbane artist Fintan Magee he chose to depict local sheep and grain farmer, Nick Hulland. Standing tall overlooking the Mallee, holding a staff and staring into the distance. He exemplified the no-nonsense hardworking spirit of the region according to the artist. As an added extra in Patche, the area boasts a replica of it’s old train station and some giant Mallee Fowl made out of corrugated iron. For an extra art boost then you can visit the studios and gardens of the corrugated iron artist, Phil Rigg, in nearby Lascelles.
Lascelles – Rone (2017)
Rone’s ghostly images overlook Lascelles. Choosing to recognise the long connection people have with the land his work features portraits of two local people. Both peering out from individual silos it shows Geoff and Merrilyn Horman. Part of a family which has lived and farmed the area for four generations. Each looking out from separate silos, they look over different aspects of the town. “I wanted to find people who had lived here all their lives and get a sense of what the town has been through over the years,” explained Rone to Juddy Roller. “With a population of just 48 people, I’ve been fortunate to have already met most of the town here in Lascelles”
Sea Lake – Drapl & the Zookeeper (2019)
The biggest town on the silo art trail in this part of Australia is Sea Lake. Boasting not only the newest mural from street art duo Drapl and the Zookeeper. The town is also the gateway to Lake Tyrell, a dramatic inland lake which is well worth a detour. ” This artwork is a celebration of this special space in rural Australia” says Zookeeper on his instagram.
It shows a young girl swinging from a Mallee Eucalyptus and gazing out over the lake. A Wedge Tail Eagle soars above and emus run into the distance. “For millennia this lake has existed, unchanged and untouched. It is a place of wonder and story. In this ever increasing busy day and age, people universally long for space and solitude.” The duo have also painted a couple of additional murals in the town to add to the silo art gallery.
Nullawil – Smug (2019)
Originally from a town south of Sydney but based in the UK, Smug has become known for his high quality portraits. The Nullawil silo art is also the first in the Buloke shire of Australia to be painted. It took 14 days in total to complete. It features a man with his Kelpie sheep dog. Very much the center of attention here is the dog and this mural is a homage to the companionship between the two. The Kelpie itself is a breed which has it’s origins in Victoria. It was bred when the area was settled by the Scottish in the mid to late 1800’s. There is a visitors center in the town of Casterton which has the full history of the breed.
The Best Order to Visit the Silo Art Trail
A list showing the best order in which to visit the silo art gallery in Australia’s Wimmera Mallee.
Start at Rupanyup. It’s the southern most mural where you can see silo art by Julia Volchkova
- Sheep Hills
Head to Sheep Hills where you can see the silo from Adnate
Then go to the small village of Brim to see art from Guido Van Helten
Rosebery is next and has silo art from Melbourne street artist Kaffeine
Furthest north is Patchewollock where Fintan Magee has painted the silo art mural
Head back south for the town of Lascelles which has silo art from Rone
- Sea Lake
Sea Lake is next on the list and is the biggest town on the trail. It has silo art from Drapl and the Zookeeper
The final stop on the silo art trail is Nullawil with art from SMUG
The Silo Art Trail was visited on 3 and 4 November 2019. Should you want to stop over then I would suggest looking for somewhere to stay in the town of Sea Lake which is mid way through. It also has a number of other amenities. For other posts about street art in Australia check out these on Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Adelaide and Melbourne.