Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published August 1st 2021
Discover Wonthaggi’s street art murals
Who doesn't love looking at the growing number of murals adorning the walls of regional and small-town businesses and Wonthaggi has no shortage of them? Some murals were created many years ago and some are so new the paint is barely dry. Some have been painted by professional artists and others by our school children, and a fine job they have all done. These are definitely worth a viewing, so come see them, we'd love to have you here for a visit. Put Melbourne in your rear-view mirror for a day or a weekend. Wonthaggi is around an hour and three quarters from the Melbourne CBD, along the South Gippsland and Bass Highways, and barely an hour from the south eastern suburbs.
1. Connells Bakery Native Birds Mural. This eye-catching mural of a white-eared honeyeater and a yellow-tailed cockatoo fills the wall of Connells Bakery which faces into the IGA carpark in Murray Street, opposite Woolworths. It was painted by Jimmy Dvante in 2020 as part of the Bass Coast Shire Street Art Scheme. Jimmy Dvante is a Melbourne-based artist who specialises in native fauna and he has certainly got this right; I often see these birds around town.
Yellow-tailed black cockatoos frequent the wetlands and heathlands around Wonthaggi. They feed on the seeds of banksias, hakeas, casuarinas and other native trees, and insect larvae that bore into the branches of wattles.
The white-eared honeyeater favours dry eucalypt forests and woodlands and is not as easily spotted as the cockatoos since their beautiful olive-green colouring enables it to blend with the tree foliage. They typically feed in insects and nectar.
2. Durham Lane Deep Sea Mural. The deep-sea murals in Durham Lane are bright and vibrant and it is hard to miss the huge whale and the giant red octopus that dominate the walls. Look harder for the fish, coral, and turtle. The mural was painted by Inverloch artist Rohan Manhal as part of the 2015 Stop Tagging, Start Street Art project. The program was a joint effort between The Wonthaggi Business Association (WBA), Bass Coast Shire Council, local VCAL students and the Wonthaggi Police to rid Wonthaggi's laneways of graffiti.
3. Durham Lane Flora and Coastal Murals. Durham Lane's most recent murals, completed in July 2021, are a set of four with both floral and seaside themes in an astonishing array of vibrant colours. Completed by local artists Carly Ablett-Meade, Craig Lockwood, Rohan Manhal and Tom Murray-White as part of the Street Art Program and the Wonthaggi, Discover Our Secret initiatives the murals celebrate life on the Bass Coast.
Carly Ablett-Mead is an artist and art teacher from Cape Woolamai on Phillip Island. Her coastal seaside scene is awash with blues, greens, golds, pinks and mauve.
Craig Lockwood and Phillip Island Murals are responsible for the giant honey-bee that greets you as you enter the lane. Undeterred by rain, wind and power outages, they completed this vibrant mural is a month.
This is not the first contribution Rohan Manhal has made to Wonthaggi murals, having competed the nautical theme on the opposite side of Durham Lane some time ago and also the eyed-waves in Abrahams Lane.
Tom Murray-White is a South Dudley artist and is responsible for the bright red and deep blue coastal scene.
4. Abrahams Lane Faces of Wonthaggi Murals. Abrahams Lane was another part of the 2015 Stop Tagging, Start Street Art project. The theme for this lane was 'Faces of Wonthaggi' and the painting was overseen by Tom Murray-White. Students from the Wonthaggi Secondary College played a large part in the varied murals here which include a person riding a penny-farthing bicycle, a woman's portrait, a small dog, a spoked wheel, a gruesome Santa to mention a few. There is also a large blue and white interpretation of waves with eyes, painted by Inverloch artist Rohan Manhal.
5. Wonthaggi's Mining History Mural. The Wonthaggi Workman's Club at 75 Graham Street, which was established in 1911, embarked on an extension in 1995 which featured a large mural depicting Wonthaggi's rich mining history, painted by local artist Dennis Lervarsha. The mural was originally situated at the entrance of the club, but now has pride of place in the Cavil Room corridor. Why not drop in the see the mural and have a meal at the club while you're here. For more information, click on my WeekendNotes review.
Dennis Lervarsha is a Wonthaggi artist and is well known for his Gippsland murals, many of which adorn the main street in Mirboo North.
6. Cargills Mining History Murals. In pride of place atop Cargills Sporting Store on the corner of Graham Street and McBride Avenue are two more historic murals painted by Dennis Lervarsha. The mural in McBride Avenue depicts the Wonthaggi Miners' Picnic train arriving at Kilcunda and in Graham Street, the Wonthaggi Miners' picnic at Kilcunda beach.
7. Project 71 Mural. This mural was painted by Dennis Lervarsha on the side of a building on the corner of Watt Street and McBride Avenue, which used to house a café called Project 71. The Wonthaggi Secondary College was just across the road, so Dennis chose a theme he thought would be on of interest to the students.
8. Wonthaggi Primary School Fence Paling Murals. There is no missing the wonderful fence paling murals, painted by the students themselves, that front the Wonthaggi Primary School at 18 Billson Avenue. There is a life-size person (vertically speaking) on each and every paling; both children and adults are depicted. This was a 2020 art project for the school and culminated with its four-day installation on the school fences in January of 2021.
9. Beside the Wonthaggi Community Arts Centre. Beside the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre at 96 Graham Street, a giant eye peers out from a wall mural leading to the backstage area. Beneath the eye, stark in black and white outline, are coloured vertical bars, each with a stencil of a helmeted miner and further adorned with all manner of things. The mural was painted over a five-week period in 2017 by students from the Wonthaggi Secondary College with cultural youth funding from the Bass Coast Shire Council.
10. Wonthaggi Citizens' Band Centenary Mural. The mural above the local solicitor's shop front at 63 McBride Avenue commemorates the 2010 centenary of the Wonthaggi Citizens Band and depicts one of the early bands. The mural was commissioned by now-retired solicitor and life member of the band, Christopher Longstaff and was painted by Dennis Lervarsha. On May 8th 2010, the band marched to the site where the mural was unveiled.
11. The Window of the Wonthaggi Union Community Art Centre. The Art Centre window is not strictly a mural but is artistic and well worth a look while you are here. A colourful collage of theatrical personalities, it is at its best at night with the Art Centre lights shining through.
Image from the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre Facebook Page