A regional Victorian town is on the lookout for tourists and a local has decided to make his art their promotional tool.
St Arnaud native Kyle Torney has long envisioned his northwestern Victorian home as a tourist stop and that goal is closer to reality after he completed four murals on walls around the town.
Mr Torney gained financial support for his volunteer project with the help of local initiative St Arnaud ArtSpace.
The aim is to make St Arnaud the gateway to the Silo Art Trail.
The trail is billed as “Australia’s largest outdoor gallery”, extending 200km along northwest Victoria.
Renowned Australian artists including Rone and Adnate have painted large-scale portraits on to grain silos.
“The idea started because I wanted to try and bring some tourism to town to try and help revitalise some struggling businesses,” Mr Torney told AAP.
“I’m not sure how many murals I’ll paint. The more we have, the more reason for people to stop and have a walk around, and hopefully, get into cafes or the local hotel, which is absolutely beautiful.”
So far, Mr Torney has completed four murals in St Arnaud featuring local art teacher Andrea Hicks, Australian boxing legends Jeff Fenech and Lionel Rose, resident gold prospector Gary Perry, and a tribute to volunteer firefighters featuring a CFA member.
“Firefighters deserve as much recognition as they can get. I’m not financially in a position where I could donate so I thought I’d donate a mural and contribute that way,” Mr Torney said.
The project will be completed with the painting of St Arnaud’s silos, an idea that was kickstarted at Northern Grampians Shire Council with a $20,000 contribution in 2018.
After leaving for four years to train at the Melbourne Martial Arts Academy, Mr Torney returned to St Arnaud to establish his own gym in town.
He said going out and maturing a bit helped him appreciate his hometown and he now wants to contribute and help it grow.
According to the 2016 census, St Arnaud’s population was 2193 people and the median weekly income was $473, lower than the $644 Victorian average.