Horsham silo art to tell iconic Indigenous story

The iconic Lost in the Bush story of reconciliation and resilience is set to become a regional tourism drawcard after Horsham Rural City Council secured funding for the city’s first silo art mural.

The privately owned silo and nearby flower mill near the Horsham railyards will include imagery from the “Lost in the Bush” story of the Cooper-Duff children and Aboriginal tracker Yanggendyinanyuk.

Works at the site are planned to start this year and details about the artists will be released soon.

Acting Chief Executive Officer Graeme Harrison said the project would support the broader Wimmera Mallee Silo Art Trail experience.

“The silo artwork will include night lighting and reference existing tourism assets in and across the Wimmera Southern Mallee region,” Mr Harrison said.

“Our city provides the ideal base for day touring with 6,700 vehicles travelling through daily. The Silo Art will be a new attraction that entices some of these vehicles to stop and explore not just Horsham but the wider region.

“Statistics say more than one third of Horsham’s visitors plan to continue their journeys on the silo art trail and the Horsham silo will provide a glimpse of what is out there in the region and encourage visitors to stay longer and explore,” he said.

The artwork will aim to retell and refocus the story from the perspective of Yanggendyinanyuk, an aboriginal man who in 1864, successfully located the Cooper-Duff children lost in the Wimmera scrub for nine days.

Yanggendyinanyuk was also part of Australia’s first international cricket team to tour England.

The mural will aim to recognise his achievements, tenacity, resilience and skills and act as a sentinel pointing the way to West Wimmera where the story took place, and also back to Harrow from where Yanggendyinanyuk’s story is further documented.

Wotjobaluk Elder Jennifer Beer, a descendant of Yanggendyinanyuk, will act as cultural advisor on the project.

Owners of the silo and flower mill, the Plazzer family, has been a generous contributor and is a project collaborator along with Barengi Gadjin Land Council (BGLC).

“The planning has been quite complex, but we are extremely happy to know the structure will stay true to what the Noske Brother’s engineered,” she said.

“We would like to acknowledge Wotjobaluk Elder Jennifer Beer and her family who have shared the story of their ancestor, Yanggendyunanyuk, and HRCC who have worked collectively for the community to see this to fruition.

“We look forward to seeing the project unfold.”

Council successfully applied for a grant of $99,000 from the Victorian Government’s Creative Activations Fund, a partnership between Creative Victoria and Regional Development Victoria. HRCC will also contribute money from the 2020-21 Budget’s COVID-19 Community Support package and the Plazzer family will also make funding contributions.

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