Saturday, May 7, 2016


This morning we were delighted to have Siv Grava and John Turpie at THE PLATFORM as we acknowledged the 20th anniversary of the mural at Port Augusta Railway Station.

It was interesting to hear some of the background to the mural.

The Port Augusta Railway Station restoration works started in 1995 as the Commonwealth Railways were privatised.

Skill Share, run by the Port Augusta Community for Training, with Sue Dalla-Santa as Chair, sought funding for the restoration works under an Australian Government work creation program called "New Work Opportunities''(NWO). The vision was to stop the Railway Station falling apart and restore it to its original, if not better condition and construct spaces within the building for community use.

NWO provided training for around 20 unemployed people over 18 months setting to ripping out internal walls, repairing the roof and preparing the exterior for painting. They also prepared the entrance hallway surfaces for the mural and restored the old oak seating.

The mural concept was developed over several months and  local outback artists John Turpie and Siv Grava were asked to participate in the mural.

Peter Newman's role was to find money to pay the artists by collecting together tiny bits of left over grant moneys or "materials" moneys from the restoration work and other programs that were running at the time.

It was decided that half the mural would be a European theme and half  an Aboriginal theme with the ceiling as a unifying theme with a blue sky with native birds (hawks) and the flying doctor plane in it. 

John and Siv, collected a number of iconic historical photos from around Port Augusta and used these to develop the southern panels of this mural. Siv painted the portraits and these are complimented by John's soft landscapes. 

 Gordon Waye was contracted to do the northern panel.
The section along the bottom was painted by the Bungala CDEP Aboriginal Women who were using a room in the station as a painting studio. Colleen Wilson guided this work.

Gordon died in 2009. Even back in 1996 he was not well when working on this mural, but he lived to paint and would not let his health get in the way of finishing this work.  When he was sick, he would discharge himself from hospital in the morning, come down to the station to paint and then go back up to the hospital each evening!

Gordon's painting depicts his homelands in the area south of Hermannsburg. Gordon's self-portrait is in the clouds of the north panel of the mural overlooking his homeland.


We also have an exhibition of Photographs depicting the Power Station.

This is quite poignant at this time because workers will finish work at the power station this month. 

As well as the wall display there is a slideshow of images for people to view.

We thank all those who contributed to this exhibition, photographers and power station workers. 

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