TWO mosaic panels representing the past and present of Red Cliffs have recently been unveiled, with local artist Sandra Burton’s hard work coming to fruition.

A collaborative project between Ms Burton and the Red Cliffs Community Resource Centre Inc, the two mosaic panels pay homage to some of the most iconic aspects of Red Cliffs, including a soldier, dried fruit, sport, sun and a steam train.

“My husband and I have lived and worked in an original soldier settler block since 1980, we’re only the third family to own it in 100 years, so the history of the area and grape growing in particular is pretty well known to me,” Ms Burton said.

“Both sides of our families were involved in the dried fruit industry, and farming in the region, for many years – my own grandparents lived in a bark hut in Carwarp.”

The artwork, which also aims to celebrate the Red Cliffs centenary, was completed by Ms Burton and a small group of volunteers, amid COVID lockdowns.

“I wanted to incorporate how the Mallee scrub was cleared – first by hand, with horse and plough, and then with Big Lizzie,” Ms Burton said.

“I particularly wanted the soldier, which my granddaughter drew, to be watching somewhat protectively over the progress of the settlement, from the tent city to the ploughing of the channels, to the planting of the vines and citrus.

“I added the little steam train Lukee taking wood to the pumps, and a first little house with a drying rack and corrugated iron water tank.”

For the present aspect of the artwork, Ms Burton focused on highlighting the great things Red Cliffs has to offer.

“The panel representing the present includes a young basketball or netball player looking towards the sun, into a brighter future,” she said.

“The Cornucopia features a lot of the fruit and vegetables grown here − some recognise the district’s past history while looking forward to the future of medicinal crops.

“I had to include the wine bottles, as we have so many wineries here and of course, the local market, the jacaranda trees, the almond trees in bloom and of course, the solar panels representing all the solar farms.”

Ms Burton said she feels “proud” that the project has now been completed.

“Given that it came about as a way to celebrate The Red Cliffs Centenary, I hope it’s around for people to look at and enjoy for the next 100 years,” she said.

By ASHLEE FALVO