Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
It’s not often that a toilet block is a tourism drawcard for a community, but that’s just what this project has achieved.
The Snowtown Centenary Park Inc oversees the grounds at North Terrace, Snowtown, 145 km north of Adelaide in SA. They’ve been on a mission to improve the facilities and, over the past 10 years, have extended the football change rooms, built a skate park and recently renovated the interior of the toilet block.
The outside of the toilet block however, still left a lot to be desired – a dull and dirty bessa block structure, with no visual appeal. It was truly a ‘blank canvas’.
An SRC grant for $10,000, funded by a private donor, enabled the Park Committee to engage a professional artist to paint a mural on all four walls, to brighten the centrally located facilities.
The mural has transformed the dull façade of the Centenary Park amenities block with vibrant images of bird and animal life. It is now regularly admired by locals and visitors to Centenary Park. With animals and objects of every letter of the alphabet to find and discover, it’s great for people of all ages, from young children looking for animals, teenagers posing for photos and adults enjoying the beautiful artwork. This mural is bright and colourful and a wonderful sight for tourists calling in off the highway and visitors to the region.
“So many people have stopped to admire the artwork and we have had an increase in caravan visitors to the park … the mural has had a positive impact on the image of the whole town. The toilet block looks amazing. Before it was dull and boring, now it is bright, vibrant and interesting.”
Project Manager and Committee member Bernie Altmann.
The need for the diversification of industry has been well known to the Northampton community for many years, given the heavy reliance on agriculture. Drought and unpredictable seasons have seen the withdrawal of many farming families, leaving an ageing population. Northampton has a median age of residents that is significantly older than the national average.
To address this issue, several community groups worked toward a common goal – to leverage the significant tourism potential of the town and bring in more visitors and diversify income. Northampton has a rich heritage, being one of only three towns in Western Australia to have attained the ‘Historic Town’ status. The development of an arts trail is a key feature of the plan, and the Northampton Friends of the Railway sought to add to it with the development and installation of a large 5m x 10m public sculpture.
They worked with local artists and steel masons to design and construct the steal art sculpture with the $3,500 Strengthening Rural Communities grant, thanks to funding from the Bertalli Family Foundation, which was specifically used for its final design and painting. The piece depicts the historic Gwalla railway precinct with all of the original buildings of the railway station, some of which no longer exist, and is located exactly on a section of the first Government Railway in Western Australia. It’s an important interpretive piece to showcase the former area, given the significant role that the railway played in the township’s mining and agricultural history.
This project brought together economic, heritage and artistic outcomes, celebrating and promoting a unique local history.