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30 June, 2022

Art trail to highlight Shire

ELEVEN public murals will be created across Mareeba Shire over the next four years at an estimated cost of $105,000 as part of a grander plan to develop a broader public art trail.

By Robyn Holmes

These two old water tanks at Biboohra will be given a fresh new look, with a colourful mural to be painted on them.

 Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin says the public art trail will be developed and promoted in 2025 to guide visitors to the artworks. 

“By this stage it is envisioned that there will be over 30 public murals, including existing artworks and those to be delivered through the action plan,” she said. 

The Public Mural Action Plan, which was endorsed by council earlier this month, includes scope for artworks in publicly accessible areas that may be either council or privately owned spaces and facilities. 

The plan allows for engagement and consultation with the community will help to identify suitable locations, appropriate community participation, partnerships and mural themes. 

Projects may either by direct commissioning of a professional artist or may be a community artwork, where residents work together to create an artwork. 

Council master planning, including the Bicentennial Lakes Masterplan and the Parks and Open Space Strategy, will also inform the location of mural projects to be delivered. 

Mayor Toppin said 11 murals would be created in the next four years, with one at Biboohra to kick off the program. 

Cairns-based artist, Sara Dragotto, will be the creative mastermind behind the Biboohra artwork which will involve a mural on the town’s water tanks, expected to be completed by August. 

“The mural will emphasise the idea of seasonal contrasts,” Ms Dragotto explained. 

“One tank will depict the thriving tropical savannah nature and wildlife, whist the other tank will show a wildfire scene with deep reds and yellow. 

“The design responds to the fire-fighting purpose of the tanks illustrating the bravery of our rural fire fighters.” 

The two old tanks, opposite the entrance to the Biboohra State School, will be cleaned next month to enable the makeover to begin. 

The second project will be the Mareeba Centenary Park Mosaic that is currently in the installation stage and expected to be completed by the end of the year. 

It will be a community artwork with individual elements created by community participants at the Arts in the Park Festival. 

Funding of $8597 has been set aside for the Biboohra and Mareeba murals as part of council’s Regional Arts Development Fund commitments. 

Mayor Toppin said three new public mural projects in Kuranda, Mareeba and Mount Molloy were proposed for 2023 at a cost of $22,000. 

This will be followed by three murals per year, distributed across the shire, in 2024 and 2025, at an overall cost of $74,000. 

“I am delighted that Council has endorsed the Public Mural Action Plan. The artwork will brighten up our shire and will be a drawcard for visitors for years to come,” Mayor Toppin said. 

But one of Mareeba’s most obvious landmarks, the two water tanks on the corner of Constance and Basalt Streets, will not be in line for a mural treatment anytime soon. 

Council investigated whether a mural could be a possibility for the tanks back in 2019 and identified significant challenges including accessing work at height equipment and impacts on the telecommunications services located at the top of the towers. 

“At the time, indicative costs to paint murals on the water towers was in the region of $250,000,” a spokesperson said.

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