The rain didn’t deter Gunnedah from turning out on Friday for the opening of the CBD murals.
The murals are part of Gunnedah Shire Council’s Vibrant Precincts Project and saw local artists come together to create works which reflect the town’s culture and history.
Four murals were painted in the alleyway between Conadilly and Little Conadilly streets. Gunnedah artists Alice Weinthal and Louisa Riordan painted cockatoos and local Indigenous artist Des Mullion painted a goanna (Gomeroi totem). Tamworth artist Daniel Stanley painted possums and Walcha artist Charlie Nivison, aka Silly Pear, painted a koala, a windmill, Red Chief, and a miner. Chanelle Windsor also assisted.
In Little Conadilly Street, on the side steps of Gunnedah Bicentennial Creative Arts Gallery, the local Arts Shed created a koala mural.
The mural was designed by Arts Shed member and local artist, Helen Stanley, and features koalas walking, climbing, sleeping and drinking, with reminders to watch out for them and provide water. It also features a tribute to Gunnedah koala crusader Nancy Small who died in August.
Ms Stanley said she was “very happy” with the result.
“Everyone contributed so much,” she said.
“A lot of time went into it and they were so dedicated.”
Council’s arts and cultural officer, Lauren Mackley, was a driving force behind the project and had a vision of a more “vibrant” CBD.
“As you can see this project has just blossomed and I think it’s really changed the culture of Gunnedah,” she said.
“I think everyone’s really excited about what our future looks like and how we can all work together.
“This project has really helped to break down those barriers. We’re no longer working in silos, but we’re working together, which is the best outcome we could possibly have.”
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey said he was thankful to all of the artists for their contribution, and Ms Mackley for pulling it altogether.
"The big thank you really needs to go to Lauren,” he said.
“The effort that Lauren has put in to help all of these different activities to be delivered is a very important thing. She has made an enormous difference as a cultural officer in the Gunnedah Shire Council.
“We have a vibrant town. We have a fantastic community. What we’ve delivered throughout our town now with this sample of beautiful artwork… is a testament to the community and what makes community.”
Another work created under the precincts project is The Node – a “multi-purpose bike trailer”, which was on display at the opening.
“It’s for testing and micro-enterprises and for public engagement for organisations,” designer Prashanth Van Houten said.
“I had the idea for a while but this was a really good avenue to build a prototype and test it out.”
Mr Van Houten said he hopes to build some more and will develop the prototype with Gunnedah Youth Council.
“As people use it, we’ll improve the design and come up with different types for different purposes,” he said.
The precinct project was made possible by $50,000 in funding from the NSW Department of Industry through the NSW Government’s Regional Development Framework – Future Towns Project.
Member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson, said the Future Towns Project aimed to “kick-up main streets in regional centres”.
“Conadilly Street in Gunnedah is smoking; there is no doubt about that,” he said.
“There is life in Conadilly Street, there is life in Gunnedah and we’ve got to continue to look at how we can promote that, how do we activate it.
“Let’s continue to push Gunnedah and make it thrive.”