Art on the Great Victorian Rail Trail - Officially Opens

Published on 26 May 2023

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The Art on the Great Victorian Rail Trail Project was officially opened at an event at Trawool Estate on Friday 26 May ahead of a major tourism campaign planned for spring.

The project has seen seven large-scale artworks and a series of smaller works placed along the length of the 134km Great Victorian Rail Trail (GVRT).

The joint initiative between Murrindindi, Mansfield and Mitchell Shire Councils, aims to improve the rail trail experience by implementing innovative and impactful art installations to attract visitors to the trail and surrounding towns within the region.

The GVRT will also benefit from a series of new wayfinding and interpretive signs installed along the trail.

These signs will improve the visitor experience on the trail, sharing First Peoples stories and information and connecting people with sites along the trail.

As part of the project, a Community Reference Group (CRG) was formed based on Expressions of Interest received.

The CRG met on several occasions to provide input and feedback on the project, including the curatorial direction of the project, potential art installation locations and consideration during the artist selection phase.

Seven artists were then chosen for the large scale works through a two-stage expression of interest selection process and Taungurung artist Mick Harding was also selected to create 20 scar trees along the Trail.

Mick and his sons removed the bark from eucalypts and carved symbols into them to articulate their relationship to their Ancestors and Country.

The work draws on traditional tree scarring practised by many First Nations peoples from the south-east of Australia.

Taungurung people have been removing the bark from trees to use for various purposes such as baby carriers, food collection vessels and canoes for at least 2000 generations.

The trees will heal over time, leaving a lasting marker of the continued connection of First Nations people to Country.

Guests at the opening heard from the Attorney General of Victoria Jaclyn Symes MP about this exciting project and its potential to bring visitors and economic benefit to the region

We thank the Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Investment Fund whose $1.2 million grant covered the full cost of the artworks, their installation and the selection process.

For more information about the artists and the artwork, visit the Great Victorian Rail Trail website.

Quotes Attributable to Murrindindi Shire Mayor John Walsh

Congratulations to the artists and everyone involved in this exciting project. The experience of walking and riding the Great Victorian Rail Trail is enhanced greatly by your contributions and the outstanding works of art.

It’s great to see investment in the future of our rural communities and I hope locals and visitors enjoy learning more about the meaning behind each artwork and the artists.

Quotes Attributable to Mansfield Shire Mayor James Tehan

It’s wonderful to see the completed installation of these creative artworks along the Great Victorian Rail Trail.

The trail is a valuable community asset, drawing visitors from across the region, and these installations will provide a new trail experience for locals and visitors alike.

We are grateful to both Mitchell Shire and Murrindindi Shire for their partnership and to the state government for funding this project.

We would also like to thank the community members and groups who have worked with us in bringing this idea to life, and to the artists who have created this series of amazing works for everyone to enjoy.

Quotes Attributable to Mitchell Shire Mayor Fiona Stevens

Tourism is a valued part of the local economy for our region and these newly installed artworks along the Great Victorian Rail Trail now provide another reason for people to come and explore.

It’s been interesting to see the artworks come to life and to witness the artists interpretation and how their works were inspired by the wonderful surrounds. It will now also be interesting to hear how visitors interpret these works

This has been a great partnership between the three Councils with funding support from the Victorian Government. This amazing trail set amongst stunning natural environment is now enhanced further to provide a unique and enjoyable outdoor experience.

We look forward to many joining us to take up this opportunity.