Silo art celebrating the coming of the railway can be found in the small township of Colbinabbin. Painted by local artist Tim Bowtell the mural spreads across five large silos. Taking eight weeks to complete it forms part of a wider series of silo art murals across Victoria.
Choosing the railway as the main focus of the mural acknowledges it’s importance in the development of the area. A farming community it had originally been established by German settlers. Needing transportation options to then move produce and livestock they campaigned for the railway to be built. Eventually it was and in 1913 it opened. Sadly the railway no longer passes through Colbinabbin. The former station once stood opposite the silos though it is long gone now.
Colbinabbin Silo Art
Situated in central Victoria, the town of Colbinabbin sits a few hours north of Melbourne. The artist Tim Bowtell is local and well known for his work in the area. The nearby town of Benalla features a number of his pieces as do the silo’s in the nearby township of St James. His work often references the history of the locality in which he is painting.
Picnic from the Past
Other images across the silo art celebrate aspects of Colbinabbin’s past. One scene shows a family group sitting down enjoying a picnic whilst others mill around in their finery. This remembers an annual picnic from the early 1900’s. Tim’s own family and friends helped with the modelling for the scene which Tim used as a reference to paint from.
Lu Lu the Fire Truck
Transport and vehicles can also regularly be seen across Tim Bowtell’s work. One of the silo’s shows an 1947 Austin fire truck which the locals once called ‘Lu Lu’. In the background can be seen the Channel Bridge. Built in 1964 it has since been at the centre of a debate around whether it is still suitable enough to support the increased traffic that now thunders across it.
Another silo shows a jet propelled tractor. Named ‘Black Velvet’ it was part of a tractor pull competition held in Colbinabbin during the 80’s. According to Tim “the Colbinabbin community had expected around 4,000 spectators but saw more than 20,000 show up. I can’t imagine how that many people fit into this tiny town but they managed to get through it, true testimony to this hard working pro-active community”.
The Colbinabbin silo art was visited during July 2022. It was painted by Tim Bowtell during April and May in 2020.