Coonalpyn silo project completed

For anyone that has traveled through the Dukes Highway town of Coonalpyn over the past seven weeks will have noticed the difference in the look and feel of the town that was struggling just six months ago.

People can’t miss it, on the 30-metre high, five-cell Viterra silos lays a breathtaking mural painted by world-renowned artist Guido van Helton.

Focused on the town’s future, van Helton painted five Coonalpyn Primary School children on the face of the silos.

Featured at either end stands five-year-old reception student Macey Jacobs and nine-year-old year 3 student Ciara Nightingale.

Macey had told her family that she was going to kiss her photo every day.

“It’s good and fun (to be on the silos),” she said.

Macey comes from a long-time Coonalpyn family.

Her mother Kimberly said it was very exciting for the family.

“It’s a honour to have your family represented, my husband has been here for five generations,” she said.

Ciara said she knew it was her up there when she first saw the hair.

“I’m happy, everybody can see me,” she said.

Her mother Danielle Johnson said she was shocked to learn her daughter would be up there.

Both parents said it has changed the town.

“I find I’m going out more,” Ms Johnson said.

Ms Jacobs said she has noticed that the locals are happier.

“Locals are spending money in our own town now,” she said. 

The project has created new beginnings for the town, Brett Dewhurst grew up in Coonalpyn and left when he was 18, he returned when he learned of the project last year to open a the Coonalpyn Silo Cafe.

“There’s not a real lot in the town so I though it would be good,” he said.

Business has been going well since opening.

“There’s people coming from everywhere, we have had a lot of people from Melbourne stop to see it, and people from Adelaide travel here.”

BP manager and Coonalpyn Arts Group member Debbie Thompson said she loves the silos, her son Blake features on them.

“The whole street is alive, to actually have traffic issues is rare,” she said.

The BP’s lease ends on May 1 and Ms Thompson said she hopes the positivity surrounding Coonalpyn would influence it to stay.