Those looking for a road-less-travelled Australian adventure might want to consider the Silo Art Trail in Victoria. The trail is a bit far off the route from the usual tourist-centric venues, but it is certainly worth the roadtrip.
Touted as the largest outdoor gallery in the country, the attraction consists of six decommissioned wheat silos that have been converted into epic art pieces. The Silo Art Trail stretches for 200km and extends across six of Victoria’s smallest towns in the Wimmera Mallee region: Brim, Lascelles, Patchewollock, Rosebery, Rupanyup and Sheep Hills.
What started as a community effort in 2016 is today one of the most exciting art projects in Australia. The initiative has seen renowned local and international artists visit the region, meeting the locals and transforming silos into work of art that embodies each town’s unique traits.
More than just a large-scale art initiative, the trail also celebrates communities and people with murals painted onto the structure – some of which date back to the 1930s!
Exploring the entire trail takes a little over two hours. For those travelling from Melbourne city, you might want to consider staying the night at one of the towns before continuing on your journey.
During my visit to part of the trail on an itinerary arranged by Malaysia Airlines’ Enrich programme and Tourism Australia, we stayed at the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld before resuming our journey the next day. The drive from Melbourne to Dunkeld took about three hours, but we decided to take a detour along the Great Ocean Road.
When it comes to the magnificence of the Silo Art Trail though, it’s really a case of “seeing is believing”. The towering structure against the blue skies is a sight on its own. But when coupled with remarkable murals, the wheat silos make for a jaw-dropping encounter.
Our first stop at the the silo in Sheep Hills features the work of Melbourne-based street artist Adnate. The artist is known for telling the story of indigenous people through his work and his mural on the silo here did just that.
Completed in 2016 and spread across all six silos, the work consists of four indigenous faces watching over the community of Sheep Hills. The mural depicts local elders Uncle Ron Mark and Aunty Regina Hood along with two young children.
There’s also a starry background that has a symbolic significance to the locals here. According to the artist, the contrast between generations is to highlight the strong ancestral connection of the community.
From Sheep Hills, we made our way to Rupanyup. Here’s where the work of Julia Volchkova is on display. The Russian artist sought inspiration from the local youth for her creation.
The monochrome mural features local sporting team members Ebony Baker and Jordan Weidemann. Volchkova, who is known for her moving portraits, perfectly captured the youthful beauty and camaraderie of the community in her work.
Looking up at the large portraits painted on two metal grain storage bins, it’s hard not to feel moved. And that more than makes up for this off-the-beaten path journey in Victoria, Australia. Of course, there are plenty of Instagram-worthy shots too on the trail.