Monto's magical silo makeover

Silos, water tower transformed as Monto joins art trail

Life & Style
One perspective of the artwork on the grain silos at Monto in its early stages. Pictures by Amanda Salisbury.

One perspective of the artwork on the grain silos at Monto in its early stages. Pictures by Amanda Salisbury.

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A suggestion to brighten up two drab grey walls in the centre of Monto has led to a spellbinding makeover of the town's water tower and grains silos that is sure to give the whole town top billing on Australia's public art trail.

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A suggestion to brighten up two drab grey walls in the centre of Monto has led to a spellbinding makeover of the town's water tower and grains silos that is sure to give the whole town top billing on Australia's public art trail.

The idea put forward two years ago snowballed into a community survey undertaken by the Monto Magic Tourism Action Group, in which the imagination of the community took off.

Celebrated street artists Travis Vinson (DRAPL) and Joel Fergie (The Zookeeper) were given the concept plans that resulted and waved their painting wands over them.

The result for the silos, according to Monto Magic president and North Burnett Regional Council division one councillor Melinda Jones, is an imaginative retelling of the legends that surround the name of the region's Three Moon Creek.

One is about the Chinese people who arrived in Australia's gold rush era and saw the moon reflected in the creek and a pannikin, another surrounds a cattleman who saw much the same thing, and the other is wrapped up in Aboriginal tradition.

The artwork by DRAPL and The Zookeeper filled in a little more.

The artwork by DRAPL and The Zookeeper filled in a little more.

"The silo artwork pays homage to the community's past, present and future," Ms Jones said. "The way the artists worked with what we gave them is amazing."

She said one of the many benefits of contracting the two artists, apart from their huge public following, was that they were aware of the subject matter used around the rest of Australia's growing public art trail, to avoid duplication.

The images on the water tower are all about fun and freedom, where three local children have been transformed into six metre high figures playing with the water "bursting" from the concrete structure.

"One is swinging from the platform at the top of the tower," Ms Jones said, recalling the cold day they undertook the photo shoot to capture images to send to the artists.

Six metre high children play among the artwork puddles on Monto's water tower.

Six metre high children play among the artwork puddles on Monto's water tower.

The paintings on the two walls between Heilbronn's Mensland and the old solicitors building show a (breed unspecified) cow on one side and what Ms Jones said was "literally Monto" on the other side.

"It's all the elements from our landscape, all with significant meanings," she said.

"All the murals will provide great opportunities for interesting, quirky and colourful selfies.

"Where else can you find an enormous cow trying to lick your head.

"Where else can you lean against a timber rail for a chat with some larger-than-life locals."

A segment of the artwork created in Monto's main street.

A segment of the artwork created in Monto's main street.

Ms Jones said signage would be erected to explain the artworks to viewers.

The aim of the greater Arts Trail Project is to attract more visitors to Monto and to create a year-round incentive to visit and stay.

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It's been supported both by the Drought Communities Programme and FRRR - Tackling Tough Times program and means that regional artist Sue Lederhose has also been commissioned to paint murals depicting how businesses would have looked in years gone by, to fill empty shop windows.

There will also be highway signage at Abercorn to alleviate an issue with car GPS systems directing traffic on a route that bypasses Monto.

Rounding out the project, lifesize fibreglass cows that were previously decorated by a number of local organisations and schools will be found 'grazing' at the entrances to town.

Read more: Watch as Thallon silos painting is finished

The grain silo work is due to be finished on July 15 and Ms Jones said while an official project opening would take place at a time to be determined by COVID restrictions, Monto Magic would have a small thank-you function for the artists and helpers before they left town.

"MMTAG is eager for this project to be completed and believes that once the pandemic is under control Australians will be keen to explore their own backyard and in particular the Monto Arts Trail Project," she said.

The entire project has been nominated for the Australian Street Art Awards.

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