In many a quiet country town concrete grain silos stand tall, watching over the community as they have done for many years. Some are no longer in use, however many are now being used as giant canvases for the display of art works. I had heard that the small town of Devenish in Northern Victoria had recently unveiled their own Silo Art, and so on a cool autumn day I drove out to have a look…..
It was early morning as I crossed the Benalla – St. James railway line and rounded the bend into this small farming community nestled near Benalla and Dookie. A couple of hundred metres up the road, the Devenish silos hug the railway line and rise into the sky. I pull over and in the crisp morning air and walk to the viewing area.
The concrete Devenish silos were opened in December 1943 and much of the grain at the time was delivered to the silo by farmers using horse drawn wagons heavily loaded with bagged grain. As farming techniques changed and with the advent of on farm storage, activity at the Devenish silo slowed down with the last loads of grain delivered in 2007.
The silo is a Williamstown type which is denoted by its flat concrete roof and stands at 22 metres (72ft) tall. The artwork looms large over the town and focuses on the role of nurses in the armed forces and how that role has changed over time. On the right hand side of the silo is an image of a World War 1 nurse whilst the left hand side pays tribute to a modern day combat medic.
In many communities across Australia young men and women enlisted in the armed forces to support the war effort. In World War 1, 50 young men and women from the Devenish community enlisted putting the needs of their country and England before their own.
The silo was painted by artist Cam Scale who recently completed a mural in Shepparton depicting a young Aboriginal soldier. More information on Cam’s work can be found at: www.camscale.com.au
After 15 minutes or so, and not another car passing through town, I climb back into my car and drive out through town before turning right and continuing on towards the Warby Ranges keen to continue exploring this part of Victoria.