Giant kangaroo silo art project takes shape on Kingscote silos

A giant kangaroo has appeared on the Kingscote horizon, as the town's disused silos are transformed into Kangaroo Island's latest tourist attraction.

The painting of the town silos has been a long-term goal of Advance Kingscote Progress Association and is part of its "Igniting Kingscote" project.

Silo owners Scott and Jude Shurven have also been instrumental in bringing the silo art project to KI and have a grand vision for the property.

Large-scale mural artist Cameron Scale and his assistant Andy Davis arrived on the Island last week to begin the painting project.

"Everyone has been very hospitable, it's a great spot really and it's been nice to be able to work with the community on this project," he said.

He had not yet had a chance to travel around KI but would do so on any bad weather days.

"You have to work while you can," he said.

After a few days of sealing the concrete surface with a special primer, they began the mural by outlining the big kangaroo and the background.

He uses ordinary acrylic house paint and so it should be quite durable, standing up to the elements.

He has allowed four weeks for the project, as weather played a big part and they were not able to paint in windy conditions.

Silo painting footage

Locals have been surprised with how quickly the kangaroo has come together and this week the artists worked on filling in details.

Mr Scale said while he had an overall vision for how the mural will eventually look, he made changes along the way once the painting actually began.

He was still not yet exactly sure how the glossy black cockatoo element of the mural would take shape, or even whether it would be one or more.

But he did say the cockatoo would be on the side of silos facing the town centre.

He did confirm he used local guide Nikki Redman's photograph of a kangaroo to create the artwork and had a number of glossy black cockatoo photos he was using for inspiration as well.

Unfortunately due to a lack of access for the lift crane at the base of the silos, as well as various elements sticking out of the silos, the mural will be limited to the one side facing the main road into town, he said.

Mr Scale has also transformed the silos at Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula, and more recently he worked with fellow mural artist Robert Hannaford on the Owen silos on the Adelaide Plains.

Formerly from Melbourne, he has completed several projects in Victoria, but just recently moved to Tweed Heads in northern NSW.

After community consultation on Australia Day 2019, it was determined the Kingscote design would include a kangaroo and a glossy black cockatoo.

Advance Kingscote sought grants for the painting and by September 2021 the funding was secure and Mr Scale selected as the artist.

Advance Kingscote and the community are excited to see the finished painting in approximately three to four weeks.

Silo committee member Beth Davis said all the comments so far had been positive.

"Local community members and visitors alike have been given the special treat this week of witnessing the progression of the silo art, with many stopping for a photo opportunity," she said.

Of course, the association had been assisted along the path to obtaining the grants to complete the silos, she said.

Special mention was made to to Cathie Tydeman, Claire Ellis and Andy Boardman for their help in planning and grant writing.

And owners of the silos, Scott and Judith Shurven, had been very supportive of the project, with in-kind work levelling the site, she said.

"The many community gestures are much appreciated, including morning tea provided for the painters by Cherie Tyley and the supply of 'raw' photos for inclusion in the design: Nikki Redman, the kangaroo; and several photographers' submissions of glossy blacks, which are still being considered."

SILO PROJECT: Advance Kingscote Progress Association silo committee members Pattey Burry, Graeme Connell and Beth Davis with artist Cam Scale with assistant Andy Davis. Photo supplied

SILO PROJECT: Advance Kingscote Progress Association silo committee members Pattey Burry, Graeme Connell and Beth Davis with artist Cam Scale with assistant Andy Davis. Photo supplied

Grants, funding and donations making the project possible include, but are not limited to, the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, as well as from the Recovery for Regional Tourism through Austrade secured by the KI Tourism Alliance.

The Wonga Ballidu and District Men's Shed in regional Western Australia also made a generous donation as a way of supporting the KI community in the wake of the bushfires.

Sponsorship for the crane travel over on the ferry was provided by SeaLink.

The Shurvens meanwhile have bigger plans to revitalise the abandoned silos property with a cafe and playground.

Coincidently, the project to build a new retail shed across the road by fellow local business owners the Ingram family is also progressing.

Advance Kingscote meanwhile sees the silo project fitting into its plans for an art trail, part of the "Igniting Kingscote" concept to boost cultural, historical and art aspects in and around the town.

The Shurvens purchased the silos with the intention of turning the property into a tourist attraction to boost visitation to Kingscote.

Mr Shurven, who also owns and operates KI Crash Repairs, said he and his family were very pleased with the progress so far.

He said they continue to work on the plans to open the silo property to the general public, with a playground and cafe, so visitors can get up close to the mural.

Kangaroo Island Pure Grain leased the silos from grain handling company Viterra until 2013, when it built its own facility on Arranmore Road.

Viterra then sold the silo property to the Shurvens and the silos have sat empty ever since.

Mr Shurven said his ultimate goal was to open the inside of the silos, building a new stairway to allow visitors to climb to the top and take in the stunning views over Kingscote.

Another idea would be to have historic displays on various levels inside the silos.