Yarram Water Tower

Benefactor – Eric Greenaway

MURAL LOCATION – 7 Nightingale Street, Yarram

ABOUT THE MURAL – In 2018 South Gippsland Water’s management gave in-principal support for the Tarra Tourism Association to investigate painting a mural on the tower. Five years down the track, and with the success of Yarram’s ‘Heesco Town’ murals, the Tarra Tourism Association passed over the water tower project to the ‘The Friends of Heesco Town’.

THE STORY – South Gippsland Water was keen that it should be Heesco Khosnaran who would paint the Tower, on the proviso that they as the structure/building owner would have final sign off on the design to be executed. This model has been used for all previous 24 Heesco Town murals, and was seen as integral to the success of the Heesco Town project.
The tower was painted over a 4 week period starting April 7th 2023 and concluded with a public gathering at the Tower complete with local GUNAIKURNAI dancing, smoking and welcome ceremonies.

THE PREPARATION – In preparation, South Gippsland Water engaged contractors to undertake repairs and maintenance of the tower. The tower repairs involved pressure washing the tower and removal of any loose or degraded concrete, concrete repair and then painting the tower with an acrylic weather protectant coating. These works are integral for the on-going safe operation and structural integrity of the tower.

THE COST – Eric Greenaway, the main driver behind the Heesco Town Murals, offered to underwrite the total cost of the project but was keen to see the community come on the journey with him and contribute to it. Kevin Mackin, from The Friends of Heesco Town took up the challenge and the community and local businesses and organisations came to the party.

THE MURAL DESIGN – Eric Greenaway wanted the top of the tower to reflect the tourism hotspots around Yarram being very keen to see the many visitors to the area get out and see the breath-taking beauty this part of Gippsland offers. Eric asked me to design the top so people could see everything from 90 mile beach to the north through to Wilsons Promontory National Park to the south. Of course, the design had to include Eric’s beloved Yarram Golf Course, Australia’s number one volunteer maintained golf course.”  Wayne Tindall – Artist/film maker

The images around the top include:

  • Stunning coastlines from 90 Mile Beach to the north to the Corner Inlet Marine National Park to the south featuring Port Albert and whale watching at Wilsons promontory.
  • State Forests featuring Won Wron and Mullungdung with their abundant fauna and flora, including the Strzelecki Koala which house the original diverse Koala gene pool in Victoria.
  • Agnes Falls, a 59 metre drop single span waterfall with Picnic grounds, shelter and toilets.
  • The Tarra Bulga National Park featuring stunning rain forests, fern gullies, the Corrigan Suspension Bridge, waterfalls and indigenous fauna and flora.
  • The famous and very friendly King Parrot found throughout the area.
  • Boran the Pelican from the GUNAIKURNAI dreaming.
  • The Long Jetty at Port Welshpool that Stretches 800 metres out into Corner Inlet.
The finished design for the top of the tower

The bottom part of the tower was to fulfil another of Eric’s wishes, to include a powerful design by a local GUNAIKURNAI elder that would represent inclusion, reconciliation and the fact that the Gunaikurnai people are the Traditional Owners of much of Gippsland. There are approximately 3,000 Gunaikurnai people, and their territory includes the coastal and inland areas to the southern slopes of the Victorian Alps.

“When I was first asked to work with The Friends of Heesco Town on a design for the bottom part of the South Gippsland Water Tower, I immediately thought of hands reaching up the tower. I thought this would look good visually but more importantly it took me back to 1999 when I travelled around Australia with a group of 300 people from NSW promoting reconciliation for Australians. Plastic hands in the colours of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags, each one carrying one signature, were installed in front of Parliament House in Canberra in October 1997, in what was then the largest public art installation in Australia. So, it is a great image central to the overall design.” Sandra Patten – GUNAIKURNAI ELDER

“I am deeply honoured to be asked to paint Sandra’s designed and I have worked hard to ensure that it truly reflects all her wishes and truly represents all the elements she included.” Heesco Khosnaran – Mural Artist

The overall design also includes the five Shields of the Country.

  • Brataualung. Brataualung people in South Gippsland. From Cape Liptrap and Tarwin Meadows, east to the mouth of Merriman Creek; inland to near Mirboo; at Yarram, Port Albert and Wilsons Promontory.
  • Brayakaulung. Brayakaulung people around the current site of Sale. From Providence Ponds, Avon and Latrobe rivers west of Lake Wellington to Mounts Baw Baw and Howitt.
  • Brabralung. Brabralung people are from Central Gippsland. From Mitchell, Nicholson, and Tambo rivers; south to about Bairnsdale and Bruthen.Tatungalung
  • Tatungalung. Tatungalung people near Lakes Entrance on the coast. Along the Ninety Mile Beach and about Lakes Victoria and Wellington from Lakes Entrance southwest to mouth of Merriman Creek, also on Raymond Island in Lake King.
  • Krauatungalung. Krauatungalung people near the Snowy River. From Cape Everard (Point Hicks) to Lakes Entrance; on Cann, Brodribb, Buchan, and Snowy rivers; inland to about Black Mountain.

The original GUNAIKURNAI design for the tower by Sandra Patten

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