The small regional town of Katamatite in North East Victoria will be the sixteenth project to join the GrainCorp silo art program, earning its place on Australia’s now iconic silo art trail.
The brush strokes have officially begun, with local artist Timothy Bowtell embarking on a mural that will depict the rich history of Katamatite and its surrounds.
The silos at Katamatite were built in 1943 and will depict the area’s pioneering history, indigenous cultural significance and the natural beauty of the Broken-Boosey State Park.
Tim, who painted the nearby GrainCorp silos in St James, says he understands how significant the project is for the local community.
“The Katamatite community are extremely passionate about this project and I’m proud that I can bring it to life,” he says.
“I really enjoy working on these large scale public works – they challenge me, but more importantly, they help put towns like Katamatite back on the tourism map.”
From fundraising to reality: How a population of 400 people put their town on the map
The Katamatite Lions Silo Art Working Group has been the passionate driving force behind the project for years, with the support of Moira Shire Council.
“The concept originally came about after a discussion between community members at the local football club rooms, back in 2017,” says Julie Ballard, Chair of the group.
“We knew the project was going to be a costly one so we went about finding the funds required through raffles at many local markets and community events. Mother’s Day raffles, Christmas raffles, you name it – we’ve given it a go!”
Through tireless fundraising and sustained enthusiasm, the group slowly but surely chipped away at their target and kept the dreams of the community alive.
“The local Lions Op Shop played a significant role in making this project a reality, too,” Julie says.
“All proceeds from the shop go back into the Katamatite community and will contribute towards the ongoing development of the mural.”
The town has seen a decline in tourism in recent years, with a number of small businesses closing doors. However, Julie says the town’s greatest strength is its resilience.
“I love how our community bands together when times are tough. Our spirit is strong and many local groups have worked hard in recent years to reinvigorate the town,” she says.
“Our vision is for the mural to breathe a bit of life back into local businesses and give as much joy to locals as it does to tourists and passers-by.”Julie Ballard, Chair of Katamatite Lions Silo Art Working Group
Katamatite will solidify its place among the growing list of silo art projects in North East Victoria, joining nearby murals at St James, Devenish and Rochester.
Lonnie O’Dwyer, Senior Economic Development Officer at Moira Shire Council, says the North East Art Trail is one of the region’s top attractions and there has been much anticipation about Katamatite joining the trail.
“The Katamatite Lions Silo Art Group has done a fantastic job staying true to its cause – in particular Julie, who has been exceptional in her dedication and willingness to work with Council and GrainCorp to see the groups dream become a reality.”
The mural, which will take approximately four weeks to complete, will join the family of other GrainCorp silos painted across Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
Does your community want to join the Silo Art Trail?
The next round of applications for GrainCorp’s silo art program open on 1 February 2024. For further information, visit https://www.graincorp.com.au/silo-art/.