A North of the Murray trail that celebrates one of the country’s most iconic artists and a series of murals in the heart of Corowa that depict native animals in playful and cheeky poses have received finalist statuses in the 2021 Grey Nomad Awards.
Federation Council General Manager Adrian Butler said Council was delighted to receive the welcoming news late last week that the North of the Murray – The Shearing the Rams Trail and the Memorial Plaza Interactive Mural in Corowa have both been listed as finalists in the Best Grey Nomad Trail and Australian Street Art Awards categories of the highly respected Grey Nomad Awards.
“This finalist recognition is a credit to the staff and all stakeholders involved in the creation of these two amazing projects,” he said.
“This is fantastic news not only for Council staff, but for our whole region, with these two projects paving the way for an exceptional experience for residents and our visitors. This recognition is something everyone can be so proud of.”
The Shearing the Rams Trail begins at the Corowa Visitor Information Centre and signifies the collaboration of six iconic attractions in close vicinity around Corowa, North of the Murray. Tom Roberts the famed Australian artist spent a considerable amount of time on Brocklesby Station, about 20 minutes north-west of Corowa, where he developed a series of sketches around the shearing sheds that would later become his most famous painting, ‘Shearing the Rams’.
Grey Nomads Awards Director Kim Morgan said the Grey Nomad Awards shine a light on regional Australia by rewarding organisations and destinations that cater in an exemplary way to mature age visitors.
“In this way, the Awards are fostering a better lifestyle for over 50s by providing verified information that will guide their decisions on where to travel safely in 2022, where to stay and what to experience along the way,” she said. “The ongoing uncertainty that faced tourism businesses throughout last year made it especially challenging for them to face each day with confidence and the unwavering customer focus that is necessary to be recognised in these Grey Nomad Awards. This means we especially want to acknowledge the tremendous commitment that Federation Council, as promoters of the North of the Murray – The Shearing the Rams Trail, and other finalists demonstrated this past year.”
The judges congratulated everyone involved in the Trail, saying “the combination of heritage values, arts and culture really hits the mark for gaining the interest of the mature age visitor segment.”
With rigorous judging by tourism leaders, plus second-tier auditing and due diligence, the Memorial Plaza Corowa Interactive Murals’ finalist success has the credence of the tourism sector. What started in 2019 when a local street artist Kade Sarte worked with Corowa High School students to paint an enchanting little echidna peaking over a flowerbed has blossomed into an immersive street art laneway. That echidna has since been joined by an eye-catching Brushtail Possum, elusive Murray Cod, Red-capped Robyn and others to create the Memorial Plaza Interactive Murals – a laneway and adjoining public space where visitors are encouraged to interact with the art while enjoying a coffee, a bite to eat or simply relaxing.
Grey Nomads Awards Director Liz Rivers said the Australian Street Art Awards inform travellers about the magnificent array of publicly-accessible art that can be found in every corner of the country and the communities that have invested in these attractions because they’re keen to welcome visitors.
She said smart communities promote their street and outdoor art as a unique landmark – an attraction that visitors can see in only one place – and that makes their destination immediately identifiable, highly attractive and a drawcard for art-loving tourists.
“Arts tourists from within Australia are high value visitors – they stay 42.8% longer and spend 55.9% more when travelling than domestic tourists overall, according to an Australia Council for the Arts’ Domestic Art Tourism: Connecting the Country Report,” she said.
“Being shortlisted in the Awards further cements Federation Council area’s reputation as an aspirational destination for everyone who loves to discover visually stunning experiences.”
The judges said, “We love that the vision of a few local high school students to brighten what was a disused grubby space was embraced by Federation Council and has resulted in what’s now a vibrant street art oasis celebrated by locals and visitors alike.”
The winners in all 11 Australian Street Art Awards categories will be announced as part of an online celebration on March 4.