CREATIVE COLLABORATION: Manager of Communications and Engagement at Lower Murray Water, Leesa Merrett, and Cultivator chairman, Mark Haynes, co-ordinated the beautification project for the pumping station next to the Rowing Club.

A CLEVER collaboration between Lower Murray Water (LMW) and community group Cultivator, has seen the water pumping station adjacent to the newly developed Rowing Club and Cafe 1909, given a colourful facelift to its exterior and some much-needed rectifications works carried out.

Manager of Communications and Engagement at Lower Murray Water, Leesa Merrett, said the project will form part of the Mildura Rural City Council’s ‘Riverfront Fest,’ marking the completion of Stage One of the Mildura Riverfront Precinct Redevelopment, to be held on Saturday, November 4.

“This project was under consideration by LMW earlier in the year, the catalyst for which was the development of the new cafe and rowing club,” Ms Merrett said.

“I thought our water pumping station, facing that lovely new building was an eyesore, and so I approached local community group Cultivator, and said LMW wanted to beautify the building, and that’s where the idea for a mural came from.”

Under the co-ordination of Cultivator chairman Mark Haynes, the group engaged Melbourne artist George Rose to create the murals which decorate both sides of the building.

Ms Rose is well-known for her large scale street-art murals, and was presented with some designs for elements to be included in her murals, which had been created by students from SuniTAFE and La Trobe University who Mr Haynes had involved in the project.

“We held a workshop for volunteers keen to assist, where ideas were brainstormed to come up with what should actually go into the artwork, and we also had Aboriginal anthropologist and archeologist Mark Grist talk to the group about indigenous culture and the different historical aspects of the community here, and also the archeology of the region.

“A collective of information was given to the group for them to distill ideas from, and then we teased out some visuals in relation to what they were thinking, and from that design images evolved,” Mr Haynes said.

“George Rose and I spent a day looking at the designs and all the different elements, which ultimately resulted in the creation of the two murals that now adorn the pumping station walls.

“George’s work is very different, pretty bold and very colourful, and she created a result that most people may not have envisaged for the murals.”

People looking at the murals will see representative images of local themes and identities, including George and William Chaffey, one either side of the building.

The murals are very striking and also feature Aboriginal sharpening tools, ‘Pondi’ the giant ancestral Murray Cod, together with Cumbungi flowers used in traditional basket-weaving and fish-netting, and the winding Murray River, irrigation-channel systems and grape vines.

The organising group also approached local architect Andrew Nairn, who drew up the plans for Cafe 1909 and Rowing Club renovations, and asked him to come up with a complementing concept for the pumping station.

“Apart from the exterior beautification, we realised the building itself was in need of some important refurbishment which included replacing the internal roofing, and the roller-door entrance,” Ms Merrett said.

“Andrew worked with myself and Luke Droffelaar from Mallee Engineering to come up with an idea on how we could ‘tie’ the two buildings together, and I think the end result is pretty impressive…they did an outstanding job.

“It’s been a lot of work from a number of different teams within Lower Murray Water, we’ve had electricians and our personnel installing exterior lighting and the facade looks particularly attractive at night, making it a standout feature.

“Special thanks also goes to Mark and his team at Cultivator and of course to George Rose for her beautiful murals, which will be enjoyed by locals and visitors for many years to come. We are all pretty proud of the end result.”