I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published May 16th 2019
Victoria's Rural Art Sites
You've probably heard of, if not actually been to see the fabulous silo arts trail in the Wimmera – Mallee, right up in the State's far northwest.
Well, now Victoria has another silo arts trail. This one is closer to Melbourne and comes with a fabulous little point of difference to anything else you may have seen.
You'll find this arts trail in the State's northeast, on somewhat of a back road leading from Benalla to Yarrawonga and specifically in the townships of Goorambat, Devenish, St James and Tungamah.
Melbourne artist Dvate is well known for his work with endangered species including Goorambats Barking Owl. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Goorambat is home to painted silos depicting 'Millibai' the Barking Owl and a rural landscape both the work of Melbourne based artist Dvate who's made a name for himself with striking images of endangered animals right across Australia. These were completed in 2018 and in 2019 Dvate returned to adorn the reverse side of one of the silos with a magnificent image of a team of three Clydesdale horses in harness. At the time of my visit in early April, this was a work in progress with only one of the horses nearing completion.
Goorambat is also home to the point of difference I referred to earlier, a work that makes this arts trail different to any I've seen previously.
Just up the road from the silos, you'll find Goorambat Uniting Church complete with a striking mural of 'Sophia', said to be the female representation of God, by well-known Melbourne artist Adnate.
These Clydesdales were a work in progress when I visited in early April. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The church is only used once a month by a very small congregation who are said to be thrilled with the painting but, since the mural went up there's been a never-ending flow of visitors from far and wide wanting to see Sophia.
The church is open daily to visitors between 9 AM and 5 Pm and, if for some reason it's locked, there's a telephone number on the door you can ring and a volunteer will come and let you in.
You and your friends will be blown away by 'Sofia' in the Goorambat Uniting Church. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Just up the road at Devenish street artist Cam Scale has decorated three silos, one with a World War 1 nurse, the second with a modern-day female combat medic and the third with a World War 1 Lighthorseman. The Lighthorseman was completed just in time for this year's ANZAC day service which saw a crowd estimated at 2000 turn up in a district with a population less than 200.
Since my visit to Devenish the metal silo has also been painted, depicting a World War 1 Lighthorseman. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The Devenish silos honour the 50 local young men and women who enlisted during World War 1. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
At St James Benalla artist Timothy Bowtell has immortalised a former local Sir George Coles, founder of Coles supermarkets, with a portrait on the towns silo's which were constructed in 1943. The work also depicts the iconic shopfront of his first store which opened in St James in 1910 and also an early delivery truck.
G.J. Coles stares down on his home town from one of the St James painted silos. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
What brings an attractive young artist all the way from Broome Western Australia to Tungamah in northern Victoria? What else but the opportunity to paint her first silo.
Artist Sobrane had completed street art and other projects in WA and a 36-Metre high wall in Italy but ranks the Tumgamah silos as one of her most demanding projects.
This giant Kookaburra by artist Sobrane decorates Tungamahs metal silo. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Featuring Brolgas and a massive Kookaburra the Tungamah project was undertaken with a view to boost visitor numbers and revenue – a common theme among all those small towns which have sought to reinvent themselves using silo and street art.
The trip from Benalla to Tungamah via Goorambat, Devenish and St James is just over 50-Kilometres, less than an hour's drive and there are a couple of good little country pubs along the way.
The Benalla-Yarrawonga silo arts trail is a must for visitors to the Shepparton, Benalla and Wangaratta regions or the Murray River towns of Cobram, Yarrawonga-Mulwala and Corowa.
The completed Tungamah silos. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Getting There …..
Benalla is 211-Kilometres north of Melbourne, just over a 2-hour drive via the Hume Freeway / National Highway M31.
From Benalla Goorambat is a 15-minute drive via the Midland Highway/A300 then the Benalla-Tocumwal Road/C371 before turning right into Peck Road.