Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

On Narrungga Country

About 160 km from Adelaide, you’ll find the small but mighty town of Bute. With a population of 250 people, the residents of this South Australian farming town are no strangers to the hardships brought on by extreme drought and below-average rainfall.

In early 2021, the Barunga West Council, alongside Bute Onwards 2000 Progress Committee, held a public community meeting to discuss plans for a project that would see a new wave of tourism brought to the town to stimulate the economy. The proposal was the Bute “Beaut” Silo Art project, which was met with resounding support from the community. This included Viterra, the owners of the silos that can be seen from much of the town.

After successfully applying for a $49,915 Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT) grant, funded by the Australian Government, the Council and Progress Committee began work on the project. A survey was shared via the Council’s Facebook page to ask community members’ opinions on what should appear in the final design. The results revealed preferences for local flora and fauna, agriculture and Bute’s history. With the brief developed, the Council reached out to award winning street art network, Juddy Roller, and New South Wales artist Scott Nagy was selected to lead the project.

Initial plans were to paint the silos in September 2021 prior to the harvest season but unfortunately COVID lockdowns delayed the project. The project recommenced in March / April of this year when the silos weren’t being used by Viterra.

The huge artwork features a woman with a bike in a paddock surrounded by a number of local Bute icons. In her basket, she has native flowers and books. There is a rooster on a fence post, which represents farming but is also a nod to the local sporting clubs as all Bute clubs are the Roosters. The local fauna is represented through the Blue Wren and Rainbow Bee Eater, plus local flora in native orchids and the Hummocks Range in the background.

This silo art project has really helped the community recover from drought by giving residents a common goal to work towards – creating the stunning artwork in the centre of town. There has been wonderful flow on benefits from the project; more tourists are choosing to visit, and there’s a renewed sense of pride and enthusiasm among locals for their home. The corner store and hotel are reporting more visitors stopping into their stores and spending additional money and the Council reports that their six-site caravan park, that was rarely full, has been booked out on many occasions.

The project has also been a catalyst for Bute receiving another $250,000 grant from Wellbeing SA to connect the outdoor play spaces and encourage more locals and visitors to be more physically active.

For more inspiring stories like this, head to our FY 2021/22 Annual Review.