I previously wrote a post on the original Victorian Silo Art Trail (in Australia), which I started to visit in 2017. And just recently I saw the latest installations in November 2019. We took this latest trek to view all the new installations which have been created in 2018, and mostly 2019 in the northeast area of the state. This has become quite an industry itself with towns across the northeast Goulburn region commissioning pieces as well.
The towns, local businesses and inhabitants sponsor these huge works of art. The biggest sponsors are the silo owners, usually big companies like GrainCorp.
The North East Silo Art Trail
All of these new installations are very well set up with car parks and viewing points, but access to some of the actual silos are restricted to prevent damage. Both of the silo art trails have become quite a tourist attraction; we even had locals selling souvenirs at a few.
At a few locations, patience was required, with any people pull their cars up quite close (ruining your shot). But don’t fear, many of them only stay a few minutes — they don’t fully take in the art seen before them. Once they are gone you have it all to yourself again. We also went during a quiet period, with no school holidays. You are far better off to park your car a little further away unless you want it in the photos.
Capturing these installations
Now, these silos are seriously huge, so the only way to really capture many of them in their entirety is with a wide-angle lens. I predominantly had mine wide open at 18mm. I have left some buildings and even people in shots to convey a sense of scale.
Sadly there are a couple that are set a little further back (behind fences) so having access to a zoom lens is handy, especially for more close up detailed shots. I used a 24-70mm lens with a variety of aperture settings (depending on the available light, etc.). But I mainly stayed at around f/9-11.
All of the images depicted here are overall captures, trying to convey a sense of size and scale, but it really does pay to go in closer (even swapping out your lens), capturing the incredible detail and even shooting individual silo structures. Many of the silos are grouped together, but the individual silo as a different part of the scene can tell a story depicted. Some also have a front back and sides. Where possible, try to visit when the sun is hitting the mural, as really brings out the details and makes the colors pop.
The Goorambat Silos were created as part of the Benalla Wall to Wall Arts Festival in 2018, and were painted by famed iconic Melbourne Street artist (Jimmy) Dvate. Dvate is known for his incredible art of endangered animals from across Australia. This super talented artist created another amazing artwork depicting an endangered bird of prey from the area and painted a silo depicting a rural landscape and the local legend draught horses on the other side.
The Devenish Silos were a two-part project by artist Cam Scale. The first part of the installation was unveiled on Anzac Day Eve 2018 and coincided with the 100 year centenary of the end of the First World War. The artwork features both a First World War nurse and a modern-day combat medic. Fifty young men and women from the Devenish community enlisted in military service for the First World War. Today it currently has a population of fewer than 200 people.
April 2019 has seen the third silo installation was completed in recognition to the Australian Lighthorse.
St James has a population of fewer than 100 residents and is small even by Australian small-town standards. The artwork here depicts a mural of Sir George Coles, the founder of Coles Supermarkets (now one of the largest in Australia), who was a local to the St James Township. The silo bunkers at St James were built in 1943, with bushels of wheat originally delivered to the site via horse and cart; a motif that is displayed in the artwork. Painted by artist Tim Bowtell.
Western Australian street artist Sobrane Simcock was commissioned to paint the privately-owned Tungamah Silos in 2018. This was the first silo to be painted in northeast Victoria, the beginning of the North East Silo Art Trail. Sobrane was the first Australian female silo artist.
I think these silos have to be the cutest, featuring a squirrel glider and an azure kingfisher, both local and native to the region. Painted by (Jimmy) Dvate, who also painted the Goorambat Silos. The town of Rochester is super proud of these silos, and why wouldn’t they be?
Most of these silos take several weeks to complete. Artists frequently use boom lifts, cherry pickers and scissor-lifts to access the entirety of the structures. These pieces of machinery are expensive and sponsorship is often required to cover the cost, as well as all of the paint required.
I was, in a way fortunate when I first visited Rupunyup in 2017. It was not quite finished and the crane was still there, as you can see below.
So if you are ever visiting Australia or even Victoria, think of adding these to your itinerary. You will not be disappointed! You will also get to see some truly breathtaking landscapes as well.