Join Me on a Road Trip as I Visit Painted Silos Around New South Wales’ Silo Art Trail in Australia
Follow me on a road trip with a purpose as I travel the Silo Art Trail in New South Wales. Learn the location of the painted silos, who are the artists, and discover what else you can do in the silo art towns.
Following Silo Art Trails provide a focus for your road trip and is a great way to see rural Australia.
See how grain silos have been transformed into amazing, towering art canvases. Each canvas is unique, with murals reflecting the people, landscape and culture of the communities in which they appear.
I need to admit, I have become somewhat addicted to silo art, having visited the Silo Art Trails in Victoria’s Wimmera Mallee region and North East Victoria.
Silo Art Projects (with the first being completed in 2015) have become a national phenomenon in Australia, appearing in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland. The silos provide a canvas for artworks that intend to boost tourism revenue in rural communities that have suffered from years of drought and other hardships. The silo murals take an average of six to eight weeks to complete.
Silo Art Locations in New South Wales
At the time of writing, there are eight painted silos in New South Wales. On a recent, extensive road trip through the Central West and Riverina regions of New South Wales, I deliberately made detours to include 5 of the silo artworks – at Murrumburrah, Grenfell, Portland, Dunedoo, and Weethalle.
The Central West region is west of the Blue Mountains, which are west of Sydney, while the Riverina is a region of south-western New South Wales. The painted silos in Murrumburrah, Grenfell, Portland, and Dunedoo are located in Central West New South Wales. The Riverina region is home to Weethalle’s silo art.
Why You Should See the Painted Silos
- This is street art at its best.
- The murals are painted on an unusual ‘canvas’.
- The painted silos are in a public space; in open-air galleries, open 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. And they are free to visit.
- It is artwork on a massive scale. How many paintings do you know that require an extended cherry picker to complete?
- The murals painted on the silos depict local history and landscapes, giving an insight into the community.
- The silos themselves have ‘painted’ Australia’s rural landscape since the 1920s.
Jump straight to a silo art location, including learning about the artist and what else you can do in the silo art town:
- Murrumburrah Silo Art by Heesco Khosnaran
- Grenfell Silo Art by Heesco Khosnaran
- Portland Silo Art by Guido van Helten
- Dunedoo Silo Art by Peter Mortimore
- Weethalle Silo Art by Heesco Khosnaran
Murrumburrah Silo Art by Heesco Khosnaran
Murrumburrah and its twin town, Harden are on Burley Griffin Way. The closest capital city is Canberra. Murrumburrah is approximately equidistant from Canberra, Goulburn, and Wagga Wagga.
I specifically detoured to Murrumburra to see the silo art on my way from Wagga Wagga to Cowra. Wagga Wagga to Murrumburrah Silo Art is 127 kilometres, while Murrumburrah to Cowra is 102 kilometres.
Google maps show the painted silos on Albury Street, Murrumburrah, but the murals face Lyons Street. It is from Lyons Street that you will get the best view of the artworks.
Street parking is available for cars. However, the trees that line Lyons Street make parking difficult for travellers with caravans. So, too, does the 45-degree angle parking on the town’s main street. But Roberts Park on the corner of Neill and Iris Streets may provide a better option for caravaners.
A fenced-off private property stands between the murals and the public, creating a barrier to getting up close to the silos. However, the private property does not impede your view of Murrumburrah’s silo art. There is a short steep incline between the private property’s fencing and the road. To view the silo art, you do need to get to the top of the slope. At times I had to hang onto the fence to keep myself on the incline.
The murals, completed in February 2021, depict people at work on a farm, reflecting the profound historical significance of the mills to the Harden-Murrumburrah community.
Who is Heesco Khosnaran?
Heesco Khosnaran, originally from Mongolia, is a Melbourne-based professional artist. Although his background is in fine art, illustration, graphic design, and print media, he has extensive experience in large-scale public murals. Heesco has an ever-growing national and international presence.
Heesco painted three of the five silo artworks I visited on my road trip through the Central West and Riverina regions of New South Wales – at Murrumburrah, Grenfell, and Weethalle. By the end of my road trip, I had become quite familiar with his style.
While in Murrumburrah
Call into the Visitor Information Centre for the story behind creating the Murrumburrah Silo Art – from the community’s involvement in the design to Heesco’s integration with the townspeople.
Murrumburrah is proud of its history as the birthplace of the Australian Light Horse. Staff at the Visitor Information Centre willingly chat with you about the significance of the town’s Light Horse Memorial, the bronze sculptures, and a horse named ‘Bill the Bastard’.
Murrumburrah is not short on choices for cafes. I had brunch at Barnesstore Emporium and Café at 356 Albury Street. Walking into the café, I thought it was pokey, with minimal seating. However, an opening to the left leads you into a substantial barn-like dining area with a warm ambience. Service was quick and friendly, and the food (poached eggs, bacon and tomato on toast) was excellent. I finished my meal with a coke spider – coca cola with ice cream in it. When I saw the coke spider on the menu, I happily forewent the coffee I thought I needed for the childhood memories this drink brought back for me.
From Murrumburrah, I took Wombat Road to get back on the Olympic Highway for Cowra.
Grenfell Silo Art by Heesco Khosnaran
From Murrumburrah, Grenfell is 83 kilometres. The closest town of note to Grenfell, at a distance of 56 kilometres, is Cowra. Cowra is on the Mid Western Highway, 160 kilometres from Canberra, the closest capital city.
I was staying in Cowra when I took a day trip to see the silo art at Grenfell.
Grenfell’s painted silos are located at 42 West Street, on the corner of South and West Streets. The silos, owned by Grenfell Commodities (a local grain trading business), commissioned Heesco to transform the silos into an impressive outdoor gallery. The artwork was completed in March 2019.
Painted on a continuous mural, the four concrete silos at Grenfell depict the local farming landscape. The artwork is a compilation of images taken by a local photographer. The Weddin Mountains National Park is shown in the background of the mural.
Parking is not an issue at the Grenfell painted silos, no matter what size your vehicle or caravan. There is space for many visitors at the same time.
Who is Heesco Khosnaran?
Heesco Khosnaran is a Mongolian-born, Melbourne-based artist who also painted the silos at Murrumburrah (above) and Weethalle (below).
While in Grenfell
Grenfell is proud of its heritage as the birthplace of Henry Lawson, the famous Australian poet and writer of short stories, noted for his realistic portrayals of Australian bush life. Born on the goldfields at Grenfell, Henry Lawson can be seen around town. There is an interactive bust of Henry on Main Street, next to the ambulance station. Push the button and listen to some of Henry’s most famous poems. You can sit next to Henry (bronze statue) on a bench on the corner of Main and Forbes Street. There is a monument, the Henry Lawson Monument, marking the site of his birthplace, just a 2-minute drive from the town centre. A sugar gum tree, planted by Henry’s daughter Bertha in 1924, shades the area.
When I first drove up to the Henry Lawson Monument on Lawson Drive, Grenfell, I wondered why I had bothered because all I could see was a white obelisk. But I am glad I got out of the car for a closer look because the 12 interpretive plaques around the Monument tell the story of Henry’s life, his challenges and achievements, was very interesting. I did not know Henry was deaf!
I would have like to visit Wallangreen Sculpture Garden while in Grenfell, but, unfortunately, it was closed at the time.
Portland Silo Art by Guido van Helten
Portland is located just west of the Blue Mountains, with Lithgow being 25 kilometres to the east. The closest capital city is Sydney, at a distance of 163 kilometres.
I detoured to Portland on my drive from Bathurst to Mudgee. Bathurst to Portland is 49 kilometres, then the drive from Portland to Mudgee was 111 kilometres.
Officially named ‘The Foundations’, Portland’s painted silos are located in the centre of town on Williwa Street, where there is plenty of off-street parking available. The silos are accessible seven days a week, 10.00am to 5.00pm. During these hours, you can walk right up to the silos. When The Foundation’s gates are closed, you can still get a good view of the silos but cannot walk right up to them.
The Portland silos were painted by Guido van Helten, with completion in May 2018.
Portland was the site of Australia’s first cement works and became known as “the Town that built Sydney”. The Cement Works closed in 1991. The figures painted on the silos, five men and one woman, are former workers of Portland Cement Works. Guido immersed himself in the town, the people, their histories, and connections to the Cement Works. Guido’s visits with Portland’s residents and tapping into their memories influenced the design and resulting artwork.
Who is Guido van Helten?
Guido is a world-renown Australian street artist. Celebrating everyday characters in forgotten places, Guido’s monochromatic, photorealistic style offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of others. His large-scale portraiture murals are found across the globe throughout Europe, Scandinavia, the United States, and Australia. They tell stories of culture, history, and identity to capture the soul of people and place.
There is no denying the brightly coloured silo artworks have the wow factor. But there is something about Guido’s artwork that draws me in; that makes me stop taking photos to contemplate what I am seeing. For me, he captures the heart and soul of the people he paints. Now, in my opinion, that takes real talent when painting on such a massive scale. You be the judge! I felt the same way about the silos he painted in Brim on the Victorian Silo Art Trail.
While in Portland
Take a walk down memory lane. To be specific, see the Signs of Yesteryear – murals of past advertising signs from historic brand names on the walls along Wolgan Street.
I recommend timing your visit to Portland on the weekend. I drove to Portland on a Wednesday and planned to have brunch in town. The only place open was The Corner Takeaway, where the coffee was undrinkable. The pub has a café, but the pub is only open from Thursday to Sunday. The museum was also closed.
In the yard of The Foundations, next to the painted silos, I could see some rusty iron sculptures. A Google search tells me these are the works of Harrie Fasher, the permanent Artist in Residence. I would have loved a closer look but was told at the café that the yard is only open to the public on the weekend.
From Portland, I continued my drive to Mudgee, where I stayed for six nights.
Dunedoo Silo Art by Peter Mortimore
Dunedoo, in Central West New South Wales, is 77 kilometres north of Mudgee and 97 kilometres northeast of Dubbo. From Mudgee, I was staying the night in Dubbo at Zoofari Lodge, Taronga Western Plains Zoo. My detour to see the painted silos at Dunedoo only added 41 kilometres to my trip, as Mudgee to Dubbo, without the detour, is 133 kilometres.
Dunedoo’s painted silos are in the centre of town, on the Castlereagh Highway, shown locally as Bolaro Street. There is generous off-street parking at the silo art. Toilets are available in the parking area.
The primary silo artwork honours local hero, champion jockey Hugh Bowman sitting on Winx, the Australian world record winning racehorse Hugh rode to fame. Hugh is shown with his winning, ‘she’s apples’ gesture – thumb and forefinger forming an ‘O’. Also featured in the mural is Winx’s trainer, Chris Waller.
Hugh Bowman was born and grew up in Dunedoo. Chatting to a Dunedoo resident while photographing the painted silos, it was evident she was proud of Hugh and what he has achieved in the world of horseracing. She told me how she remembers Hugh as a 3-year-old learning to ride in the local pony club.
The silo artwork also includes a mural of Dunedoo’s rural landscape, including black swans. The name ‘Dunedoo’ is derived from the Aboriginal Wiradjuri language for ‘black swan’.
What you see today was painted in July and August 2020. The artwork is yet to be completed.
Who is Peter Mortimore?
Peter is a self-taught Australian artist known for his Equine Art and ‘rural realism’ style. He has held successful exhibitions in Australia and overseas.
The painting of the murals on the Dunedoo silos was Peter’s first Silo Art Project, the first time he had painted anything on such a massive scale. Unlike established street artists, Peter used brushes and rollers rather than spray cans to paint the silo artworks.
While in Dunedoo
Dunedoo’s main street is lined by shops on one side and a narrow parkland, OL Milling Lions Park, on the other side, with the painted silos off to the side of the park. Displayed in Milling Park are several sculptures of local birdlife created from recycled metal and farm machinery parts. According to my local lady, “Sculptures in the Park”, which predates the silo artwork, was designed to get people to stop in the town. The sculpture of the Wedge-Tail Eagle in the photo below against the backdrop of the painted silos was created by Dunedoo Central School’s design and technology students.
After viewing the sculptures, I suggest you grab something to eat from one of the cafés in town and eat at one of the picnic tables in the park.
Weethalle Silo Art by Heesco Khosnaran
I made a deliberate overnight stop in West Wyalong on my way from Forbes to Lockhart to give me time to view the painted silos at Weethalle.
Weethalle is a small farming town in the Riverina Region of New South Wales. It is a 59-kilometre drive from West Wyalong – a round trip of 118 kilometres as I had to return to West Wyalong to continue my journey to Lockhart. However, returning to West Wyalong allowed me to wander around the town; to check out its cafés and historic buildings.
The closest capital city to Weethalle is Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory, approximately 337 kilometres to the southeast.
Weethalle painted silos are on the main road through town, on Railway Street, along the Mid Western Highway. There is plenty of off-street parking at the silo, no matter the size of your vehicle or what you are towing.
Completed in June 2017, the Weethalle silos were the first to be painted in NSW. The mural portrays a shearer, a grain farmer, and sheep up on the balcony. It is a tribute to the rich agricultural heritage of the small community of Weethalle and the surrounding communities.
Who is Heesco Khosnaran
The Weethalle Silo Art was the third silos painted by Heesco Khosnaran that I visited on my road trip around New South Wales’ Central West and Riverina regions. I was, by now, familiar with his work.
Back in 2017, the Weethalle silos were the tallest ‘canvases’ Heesco had ever painted. He had previously painted on canvases four or five stories tall, but, at 21 metres high, the silos are close to eight stories. Using 200 litres of paint and 300 spray cans (for the finer details), Hessco took two weeks to complete the mural.
While in Weethalle
Have a meal at the roadhouse Road Kill Grillz at 13-15 Railway Street, Weethalle. I had the Hanky Panky hamburger with beetroot, tomato, onion, lettuce, and sauce. Delicious! Perhaps the best hamburger I have ever had! The coffee was also excellent. Friendly, helpful staff topped off my experience.
Someone at Road Kill Grillz is into boxing as there are posters all around the interior walls.
After a drive of 272 kilometres from Weethalle and one more overnight stop, I arrived home safe and sound. And so, my road trip came to an end. I had travelled 2,614 kilometres – through sun, wind and rain, on highways, country roads and dirt roads. I drove through a locust plague, slept in a mouse plague, and navigated flooded roads. I had lunch with a stranger, chatted to locals, slept in a zoo, and visited five incredible painted silos. It was all a great adventure and experience that I will be talking about for a long time to come. One that I encourage you to experience for yourself.
Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. All photos are my own and remain the copyright of Just Me Travel 2021.
Comment below to share your thoughts on this blog post. Tell me which silo artwork featured in this post is your favourite. While the brightly coloured murals have that WOW factor, my favourite is the Portland painted silos. The muted tones used by Guido van Helten capture the heart and soul of the people he paints. Do you agree?
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To read my other posts on silo art in Australia, open the links below:
UNIQUE SILO ART CELEBRATES LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND FAUNA
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO ROAD TRIPPING VICTORIA’S SILO ART TRAIL
3 OF THE BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN ROCHESTER
Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.