Billed as Australia’s largest outdoor gallery, the Silo Art Trail is a collection of 6 decommissioned wheat silos in rural Victoria that have been transformed by international street artists.
Large-scale murals depicting the local culture and community have been painted on the silos by world-renown artists in a bid to inject colour, optimism and (I hope) a bit of tourist dollar into these forgotten areas.
It’s hard to describe the impact of seeing a ghostly portrait or deep purple night sky rise out of the dry fields but trust me when I say these murals are amazing.
Each artist has chosen to tell a story about the people of the region – from the sports-mad youth to the hard-working farmers and respected indigenous Elders – and it’s these faces that keep you driving as much as the uniqueness of the setting.
Where is the Silo Art Trail?
The official Silo Art Trail consists of 6 silos spread over 200 kilometres in the Wimmera Mallee region. Trail maps and regional information guides can be found at each of the silos. You can also download a copy of the visitor map here.
Here’s a little taste of what you have in store.
Read also: 6 must-do road trips from Melbourne
Rupanyup Silo, Julia Volchkova
Russian artist Julia Volchkova focused on the town’s youth and their love of team sports for her mural in Rupanyup. Julia’s work has also transformed little-known areas in George Town and Balik Pulau in Penang.
Sheep Hills Silo, Adnate
Melbourne-based artist Adnate is well known for his portraits of indigenous people and their native lands. At his mural in Sheep Hills he has depicted local Elders, Uncle Ron Marks and Aunty Regina Hood, alongside two young children to signify the important exchange of wisdom, knowledge and customs from Elders to the next generation.
Brim Silo, Guido van Helten
Guido van Helten’s mural in Brim (also pictured top) was the first silo artwork to appear in Victoria and its international success inspired the establishment of the Silo Art Trail. (Anyone else recognise it from Masterchef?) The mural depicts an anonymous, multi-generational quartet of farmers and represents the strength and resilience of the local farming community.
Rosebery Silo, Kaff-eine
The only female artist on the trail, Kaff-eine spent some time assisting Rone with his mural in Lascelles before completing her own in Rosebery in late 2017. Kaff-eine’s artwork depicts the region’s past, present and future and portrays a young female sheep farmer and a horseman enjoying a quiet moment.
Lascelles Silo, Rone
Rone’s ethereal mural in Lascelles features local farming couple Geoff and Merrilyn Horman, part of a family that has lived and farmed in the region for 4 generations.
Patchewollock Silo, Fintan Magee
Brisbane artist Fintan Magee met the muse for his mural at the local pub. Local (lanky) sheep and grain farmer, Nick “Noodle” Hulland, had the exact spirit (and build!) Magee wanted to portray on the narrow GrainCorp Silos.
Tips for visiting the Silo Art Trail
- I’d recommend setting aside at least 2 days to cover the trail and stop at places that catch your eye along the way. There are additional murals by Kaff-eine, for example, found in Lascelles and Beulah, The Mallee Sunset Gallery in Rosebery is worth a visit and speaking to the locals in the bakeries and hotels will give you more insight into the area.
- If self-catering, stock up on food and refreshments in bigger towns like Horsham or Warracknabeal. The convenience store was closed in Patchewollock, the most remote of the silos, when we reached it – much to our regret. We did find some much-needed snacks at a tuck shop inside the Minapre Hotel at Lascelles though.
- Observe the speed limits! This may sound obvious, but when you’re driving on a straight and empty road for miles and miles it can be easy to lose track of the speed limit – just ask my husband! On one part of the trail we passed not another vehicle for almost an hour – apart from a friendly local police officer who slapped us with an on the spot fine. Oops.
- There are clean but basic public loos dotted along the trail. You might want to pack your own loo roll and anti-bacterial hand gel.
- We visited on a week day – just before ANZAC Day – and there was often just us and one other couple at each silo.
- We did spot people flying drones and were gutted we hadn’t come with one in order to get some aerial shots.
Where to stay on the Silo Art Trail
Most people we saw doing the trail were in campervans. There are a couple of basic caravan parks found along the trail and in remote areas like Patchewollock you’ll be glad to have your own fridge!
The Mallee Bush Retreat on the shores of Lake Lascelles has some quirky options including 2 Silos, 2 Cow Sheds, Stables and a Limestone Grain Store for rent – you’ll have to bring your own linen – as well as free camping around the Lake perimeter.
Find more information on caravan parks in the Yarriambiack Tourism guide.
Silo Art Trail Accommodation
We hired a car and drove from Melbourne, staying in Horsham the first night and in a gorgeous cottage outside Ballarat the second. We chose these areas as we wanted access to cafes and restaurants and a shorter drive home afterwards, but it did mean doing a lot of driving over the 2 days on the trail.
We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Horsham – clean, basic, did the trick for $150 AUD.
If you’d like to stay somewhere on the trail the Minapre Hotel in Lascelles has built some brand new cabins directly opposite the Rone mural. They are available to book on AirBnb from $80 AUD per night. Check out Wagon Inn self-contained units.
If you don’t mind driving towards Ballarat at the end of the day I cannot recommend Pound Hill Cottage at Miners Rest enough. This beautifully maintained 3-bedroom property has a roaring log fire, cosy beds and stunning rural views. It made this city girl consider a move to the country! (Priced from $180 AUD per night.)
Things to do near the Silo Art Trail
There are some great places you can visit in the surrounding area before or after your visit to the Silo Art Trail.
We spent the weekend in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs before heading out to Horsham to begin the Silo Art Trail. Other places you can combine your visit with include:
- Sovereign Hill – an open air museum set in Victoria’s gold digging era
- Kryal Castle – come over all Medieval at the bizarre Kryal Castle
- Eureka Centre – learn about the 1854 Eureka Stockade at the home of the Eureka Flag
- The Grampians – go wild with bird watching, hiking and rock climbing in the Grampians
- Bendigo – learn about Bendigo’s gold boom on a vintage talking tram
I hope you enjoy your visit to the Silo Art Trail as much as I did.
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