The Merriwa GrainCorp Silo Art project is a project of Upper Hunter Shire Council and completed in 2019. Council thanks GrainCorp for their partnership providing the canvas for this eye-catching public art. It is the first artwork to grace a GrainCorp site in New South Wales. The Merriwa silos were opened in 1963 to receive grain.
The silo art was painted by artist David Periera using 160 litres of primer and 280 litres of paint. The design was created by artist Sid Tapia who consulted with locals including school children, in 2017. The community and the Merriwa Tourism and Promotion Committee chose the design from three options. The creation of silo art was one of the highest priorities identified in Council’s Merriwa Town Centre Masterplan based on consultations with the community in 2015.
What’s growing in the yellow field?
Yellow canola crop (which produces edible canola oil) is an integral part of the cropping program in the Merriwa district, as an alternate to cereal cropping. It’s rich bright yellow flowers can be seen across the landscape.
Who used the slab hut?
Slab huts were commonly used as accommodation by the early settlers and as shepherds huts on large land stations.
Why a windmill?
Almost every house in Merriwa would once have had its own windmill to pump water from underground wells. Merriwa was known as ‘the town of windmills’ and you can still see some around today.
Why are there sheep wearing red socks?
Merriwa has long been known for high quality fine merino wool. Merino sheep came to the district in 1829 to what is now known as Collaroy Station.
During peak production in the 1880s there was a flock of 300,000, and a new shearing shed was built at Brindley Park to accommodate 110 blade shearers and later the new Wolseley mechanical shearing machines. (Legend has it that Alexander Bell personally demonstrated his 1876 invention – the telephone – with a call from the homestead to the shearing shed).
Wool prices rose and fell over the decades, and many farmers began to also breed for the meat market, using a merino breed mother and a border Leicester father, producing prime lamb. With the demise of the wool reserve price scheme in the late 1980s, the prime lamb industry has become very important to the Merriwa economy.
Merriwa’s annual Festival of the Fleeces started in 1990 originally held at Brindley Park wool shed. One of the founders was the late Pam Power, who was Mayor of the former Merriwa Shire Council.
Red woollen socks were later donated to the Festival. Now the running of hundreds of sheep in red socks down the main street leading the festival parade, is an iconic image for the town.
The Festival of the Fleeces which is held on the June long weekend, celebrates its 30th year in 2020. https://upperhuntercountry.com/rosto-festival-of-the-fleeces-merriwa/