Small town putting on brave face(s)

Come face to face with the insiring people of Yarram

Domestic travel
LONG CONNECTION: Retired dairy farmer Bill McKenzie with MG Trading's dog Toby. Bill has been involved with the company for more than 50 years.

LONG CONNECTION: Retired dairy farmer Bill McKenzie with MG Trading's dog Toby. Bill has been involved with the company for more than 50 years.

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Victorian town's murals a tribute to local history and culture.

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THE Gippsland town of Yarram is determined to emerge from the coronavirus crisis stronger, with a vibrant show of its local history and culture.

The small community recently unveiled the last of 12 murals which have transformed the once blank walls of the town into vibrant displays honouring those who made their mark on the region's history, and those who continue to shape the town today.

They were painted by world-renowned street and silo artist Heesco Khosnaran over five weeks in March.

The project was the brainchild of Yarram resident Eric Greenaway and has been co-ordinated and documented by film-makers Anne and Wayne Tindall, owners of The Bull Bar.

Mural locations include the prominent walls of MG Trading and the Federal Coffee Palace at each end of the town, the Alberton Pub, The Ship Inn and The Bull Bar.

One of the characters featured is Liem, whose portrait appears on the wall of his Yarram Bakery. The Vietnamese refugee settled in the town in 1983 and has never forgotten the warm welcome he received.

"All this time I have worked hard and have been trying to figure out how I can ever say thank you in a public way to Australia for taking me in," he said.

"When Wayne asked me if I would get involved with a painting on the wall of my business, I thought, 'This is my chance to say thank you Australia'."

Another is Ralph the bullock driver whose mural adorns the wall of the Federal Coffee Palace, a building that enjoys a unique place in the town's history.

Ralph, who died 10 years ago, lives on in loving memory. He made shoes for his bullocks out of old car tyres and took his bullock train more than 120km from Walhalla to Port Albert for latter's 150th anniversary in 1991.

IF YOU GO...

Yarram is a pretty town of just over 2000 people, two-and-a-half hours' drive south-east of Melbourne.

It's ideal as a base to explore the cool rainforest of Tarra Bulga National Park, the historic fishing village of Port Albert, the highest single-span falls in Victoria, Agnes Falls, and the start of the world's second-longest uninterrupted beach, 90 Mile Beach.

  • www.visitgippsland.com.au
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