Tower art signage unveiled

Barwon Water partnered with Cressy and District History Group to design the interpretive signage as part of the art project at the Cressy water tower.

The art project was the initiative of the Cressy and District History Group, who partnered with Barwon Water on the use of the tower to showcase the local history of the area while also creating a tourist attraction.

Representatives from project funding partners and the community attended the signage unveiling event, while pupils from Beeac Primary School also had a chance to check out the tower and partake in post-event education and artistic activities at Cressy Public Hall.

Cressy and District History Group President and Project Coordinator, Robyn Alexander, said the signage was the final piece of the project and gave visitors information about the significant aspects of the region’s local history that the four murals painted by renowned silo artist Tim Bowtell depicted.

“On one column facing Colac Ballarat Road, there is the Woady Yallock River where Cressy was founded.

“On the rear column, there is a steam train representing our vibrant railway history.

“On each side of the barrel are two vintage aircraft representing the Cressy RAAF Base that operated during World War II, so you will see a Hawker Demon on one side and a Spitfire on the other side,” Ms Alexander said.

Ms Alexander said Mr Bowtell had done a fantastic job on the murals, which were a project that was first mooted 12 years ago and came into being after five years of planning since 2019.

“Thanks to Barwon Water for the use of the tower and funding partners Colac Otway Shire, Berrybank Wind Farms through the Corangamite Shire and the Golden Plains Shire, Mt Gellibrand Wind Farm, and Golden Plains Wind Farm,” Ms Alexander said.

Mr Bowtell, who is responsible for many silo artworks across Victoria and New South Wales, thanked Ms Alexander for the opportunity to paint the water tower and said he was pleased to make a contribution to the town’s history.

“It’s great to be able to work on projects like this, that tell a bit about the local history and can have a really positive impact on the local community.

“It was a tricky one to paint given the shape and height of the 60ft tower and the 365-degree nature of the work, but I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out and hope the community and those visiting or passing through the town can enjoy it for years to come,” Mr Bowtell said.

Barwon Water Managing Director, Shaun Cumming, said he was pleased Barwon Water could support the project on a piece of infrastructure that still played an important role in Cressy’s water supply.

“From Barwon Water’s perspective, we’re truly delighted to have provided the canvas for this excellent project.  

“We know that public art projects are helping to invigorate small towns and communities. 

“The image of the Woady Yaloak river, with the magnificent red gum is one that could be a snapshot from tens of thousands of years ago.

“By continuing to learn from, and work with, Traditional Custodians to Care for Country, I hope in centuries to come, an artist will be able to view the same scene and paint a healthy waterway just as artist Tim Bowtell has now,” Mr Cumming said.

Mr Cumming also said the project strongly aligned with Barwon Water’s goal of supporting regional prosperity.

“Prosperity comes in many forms and is more than just dollars and cents.

“This project is building social and cultural prosperity. From a social perspective, there has been wonderful collaboration between partners and organisations and opportunities to build connections.

“Culturally, using art to showcase Cressy’s history to new audiences is such a terrific way to generate pride in the region’s heritage and strengthen the spirit of this small community,” Mr Cumming said.

The Cressy water tower, built in the early 1960s, is located on New Station Street and is a landmark for those approaching the township.

As well as now artistically representing some of the region’s history and extending the Silo Arts Trail along the Hamilton Highway, from which it is visible, the tower marks the northern most point of Barwon Water’s Colac region supply system.

It remains a crucial part of Cressy’s water supply infrastructure by gravity feeding water into the town’s drinking water network.

Image caption (left to right): Colac Otway Shire Councillor Chris Potter, Colac Otway Shire Councillor Tosh-Jake Finnigan, Cressy & District History Group President and Project Coordinator Robyn Alexander, Artist Tim Bowtell, Barwon Water Managing Director Shaun Cumming and Golden Plains Shire Mayor Brett Cunningham.

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