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Published February 5th 2018
Historic murals bring life to a small suburban lane
A few years ago, Dural Lane was little more than a small alley leading to a car park on the west side of Hornsby. Over the last few years, however, Hornsby Council has turned its fate around, first with the annual WestSide Vibe festival, and now by commissioning bright streetscape murals to be painted on the buildings along either side.
The murals depict what Hornsby would have looked like in the early twentieth century. The first one was finished in 2016, and the second was finished late last year.
The murals have both been painted by Hugues Sineux, a French mural artist who has lived in Australia since 2010. 'This was a particularly special project,' Sineux says, 'as the two facing murals allowed me to create a truly three-dimensional artwork. I'm used to transforming previously drab walls, but this time I have been able to fully bring to life a scene from the past.'
The technique he has used is called tromp l'oleil, which means 'to trick the eye' in French. It's an apt name, considering the idea for the murals came when Hornsby's previous mayor Steve Russell was in France and was tricked by one himself, believing there was a door in a wall when it was in fact just a painting.
At the unveiling last year, current mayor Philip Ruddock heaped praise on the Dural Lane murals; 'This magnificent piece of art brings new life to the west side of Hornsby while also shining a light on its colourful past. I encourage everybody to take a walk down this memory lane.'
Like Ruddock, I particularly like the murals' references to history and Hornsby, such as the bookstore painted on the side of The Bookplate secondhand bookshop, which features Ginger Meggs comics. The character himself is then depicted in the doorway of the restaurant painted next door. (The popular character's creator, Jimmy Bancks, lived in Hornsby and these aren't the only references you'll find to Meggs around the area, with another one being the Ginger Meggs Park).
Jimmy Bancks used Hornsby as inspiration for his Ginger Meggs cartoons so it's only fitting that the character features in the new murals