Outback art attack on track for bigger and better things

Published: March 8, 2018

Art has been playing an increasing role in enticing grey nomads into rural towns and areas.  Now, an initiative is under way that would take the trend towards rusty sculptures and painted silos to a whole new level.

Those behind the Artback Rail Trail say they hope to eventually create the world’s largest outdoor art gallery as various outdoor public artworks are progressively installed in South Australian settlements along the old Ghan railway.

Marree woman Jo Bonner told Brand South Australia that she hopes the trail will eventually connect small towns along the old Ghan rail route, including Lyndhurst, Farina, Marree and Oodnadatta.

The plan is for at least two artworks – which could range from sculptures to murals – to be unveiled each year.

“At this stage we’re hoping it could run from Port Augusta to the Northern Territory border, which could make it the largest outdoor gallery in the world,” she said. “The artworks could be on walls, buildings … Outback towns have many old stone ruins that would be perfect, so there’s a lot we can do.”

Jo, who is vice-president of the Marree Progress Association, said she hopes the Artback Rail Trail will help boost tourism in the Outback and rejuvenate interest and business livelihood in small country towns.

“If we can increase the time tourists spend here it’s going to increase tourism in the town, leading to substantial growth, more employment opportunities and maybe even encourage people to consider what it’s like to live here,” he said. “Even if the visitors don’t stay overnight but buy a cup of coffee … every little bit counts and it’s keeping the services alive.”

Regional Arts Australia has already awarded a $20,000 grant to get the ball rolling and commission artists, Raylene Klinger and Susan Michael, to create the first two artworks in the trail.

While the exact nature of the artworks is yet to be revealed, one of them will involve an old red Ghan carriage in Marree.

Both creations will be unveiled during Marree’s Camel Cup event which runs from July 7-13.

  • Does Outback art enrich your Big Lap experience? Comment below


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4 years ago

Anything the outback towns can do to keep themselves going is a good thing.

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