WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — GrainCorp is celebrating three years of the silo art trail that helped put rural town in eastern Australia on the tourism map.

A three-year journey of a trail of painted silos, born in country Victoria and tracing up to outback Queensland, gradually has brought new life to drought-stricken communities with populations as small as 93 people.

GrainCorp is celebrating the anniversary on social media by asking people their favorite artwork, the prize being a framed photograph of their nominated site.

A partnership with a regional Victorian community began the trail in the Wimmera in late 2015, with artist Guido van Helten’s mega-scale depiction of farm workers across six silos at a GrainCorp site in Brim.

Since then, the trail has spread throughout Victoria over GrainCorp sites in Rosebury, Lascelles, Sheep Hills, Patchewollock, Rochester, Devenish and headed north last year with an artwork in Thallon, Queensland.

“Benalla is known as an arts destination and a great place to visit, and since the silos were launched in April 2017, more than 20,000 people have visited Devenish,” said Mayor Cr Scott Upston, Benalla City Council. “One group of visitors flew from New Zealand into Sydney then drove to Devenish just to see the silos. The sense of pride and reinvigoration in the town and surrounding area cannot be underestimated.” 

GrainCorp said the movement marked the beginning of new tourism with local communities reporting an increase in trade, as well as nationwide attention.  

“The mural has been transformative for Thallon,” said Leanne Brosnan from the Thallon Progress Association. “The huge number of visitors and media interest that the artwork has created has engendered a sense of pride in the town and given hope for the future, despite the ongoing drought. Businesses not only in Thallon but other parts of the Balonne Shire have commented on the impact that the mural has had on tourism for the area.”