Ben Wessling - PUBLIC Silo Trail
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Public Silo Trail: See the big picture

FORM’s PUBLIC Silo Trail is putting regional Western Australia up in lights, bringing world class murals to grain silos, transformer boxes and iconic infrastructure in unexpected towns right across the state.

Ravensthorpe AMOK Island

Ben Wessling

I’ve lived in Ravensthorpe for four and a half years. I was born in Wagga-Wagga, New South Wales. My Dad was in the Air Force, so I travelled around a fair bit when I was a kid. My mate owns the pub here, and also owned a pub in near where I used to live in Wallaroo. I came over to visit, I’d just turned forty and I was just going to stay for a few months, but I haven’t really left since. I work at the Ravy Country Kitchen, cooking and making coffee.  Originally I was a geotechnician. I did that for ten years, and before that, I was a concrete form worker.

I live a pretty simple life. Monday to Saturdays I’m busy working at the Country Kitchen. I usually go to the pub for a few beers and socialise there. Good laughs there. Everyone’s friendly. Living here might be harder if you had a family, with the distance it is from everywhere. If you need to go to the dentist or something like that, the closest one is in Esperance. But I’ve got everything I need. Shop, pub, somewhere to sleep, somewhere to work; I’m all good.

Since the mine reopened out here two and a half years ago, it’s brought a lot more people to town. There used to be a lot of empty houses here, but now you can’t get an empty house. You’d be lucky to find one to rent. There are a lot of fly-in fly-out workers, but they prefer to employ locals. So there are a lot of local blokes out there. The main
street’s changed, they fixed it all up  when the silos were painted. They have a Country Carnival now with a street
parade which gets better every year. When Ravensthorpe was flooded in last year, that was pretty interesting. My mate and I were sitting in the pub on a Saturday afternoon, and my mate goes “come and see the water coming  over the road down at Phillips River.” We went down the road and I couldn’t believe it: it was covering sixty to seventy metres of road, and the bridge had been washed away down the river! It made life pretty hard here for about a week and a half. You couldn’t get in or get out of town. We didn’t close up shop at the Country Kitchen, but it was the worst takings we’d ever had. We had no through-traffic, no-one stopping here. I think they had to get milk flown in for the IGA. The town had a bit of damage, and a lot farmers had a lot of damage as well. They’d just finished laying pavers on the main street, and a couple days later the rain came. All those new pavers buckled. But in a way it was good, our little community came together, people put in, helped out where they could.

We get a lot of rain, but this year we’ve had no rain, so a few of the farmers are struggling around here, but I’m sure they’ll get through. Wildflowers might be a bit late this year, I think. I couldn’t go back to live in the city now,
I like the easy lifestyle. It’s not flat-out, it’s a nice and relaxed pace. No-one’s in a rush, everyone stops to say g’day and things like that. The people here are really good and friendly, everyone helps you out. You’ve got plenty of support. You go to the footy on the weekends and the whole community comes together, there’s cold beer in the pub and Hopetoun is half an hour away if you want to go to the beach. I’ve met lots of really good people here, haven’t met any bad people yet.

 

Public Silo Trail. See the big picture Close
Northam
Northam Internationally renowned artists Hense (USA) and Phlegm (UK) transformed eight CBH Group grain silos into iconic works of art, dramatically responding to the unique landscape of the Wheatbelt town of Northam.
Merredin
Merredin Urban artist Kyle Hughes-Odgers created PUBLIC Silo Trail in Merredin’s 35-metre high grain silo in Western Australia’s Central Wheatbelt
Katanning
Katanning FORM commissioned local and international artists to paint a series Western Power owned transformer boxes in Katanning
Pingrup
Pingrup Dog on a tractor, jockey on a horse, lamb in a man’s arms. This captures Pingrup’s spirit in a nutshell – or rather, in murals on three 25m high silos Pingrup spirit in a nutshell – or rather, in street artist EVOCA1’s 25m high murals.
Newdegate
Newdegate Native Western Australian wildlife took centre stage in sky-high silo art with Newdegate becoming the fifth stop along the PUBLIC Silo Trail.
Ravensthorpe
Ravensthorpe Fremantle-based artist Amok Island created PUBLIC Art in Ravensthorpe’s Six Stages of Banksia baxteri, a 25 metre high wildflower inspired mural painted across three CBH Group silos in Ravensthorpe, Western Australia.
Albany
Albany The Ruby Seadragon and its Leafy Seadragon cousin, the 35 metre high and 50 metre wide mural now sits proudly across the giant silos at CBH Group’s Albany Grain Terminal.