Monday, 28 March 2022

Western Australia’s murals and artworks transform its vast landscape

On an arrow-straight back road, beneath a vast blue sky, I pull in and stretch out after a long drive. Crooked fence posts – decades-old, weathered and rusted – stand guard along the side of the asphalt. Ahead, a swathe of golden wheat dances in the late afternoon sun. The rustle is a kind of anthem of the Wheatbelt, a place where farmers face boom and bust; where a good year can set you up, and a bad one can send you under. This way of life and this arresting landscape are woven through the very fabric of Western Australia.

Adventurous travellers have always been drawn to the tough but awe-inspiring landscapes beyond the region’s cities. But now there is an added draw. A first in the country, though since imitated in Victoria, the PUBLIC Silo Trail was opened the year prior to the pandemic. Western Australians have enjoyed their vast state like never before; their borders closed to visitors. But now as travellers return there’s no better time to discover these unique art works and country hospitality.

Amid an agricultural setting, the project has taken functional structures that are still in use and fashioned a 1,000km-long route of epic artworks, taking you from the inland Wheatbelt to the wild Southern Ocean. Grain silos – scattered across seven locations from Northam, 97km east of Perth, down to Ravensthorpe in the southeast and Albany on the Southern Ocean coast – have become vast canvases, stretching up to 40m high.

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