Looking to entice travellers to their tranquil river town, Rochester locals launched a grass-roots campaign to beautify their silos, celebrating the community’s wheat-growing connection.
Meagan Keating, who owns the recently-refurbished Rochester Motel, led a four-person committee on behalf of the Rochester Business Network, starting with a letter-drop.
“We didn’t have a dollar to start with,” laughs Meagan.
“[But] The community was amazing. People dug deep … we had kids selling freshly-squeezed lemonade out the front of their house,” Meagan explains.
Indeed, within four months, Melbourne artist Jimmy DVine started painting the works to an open brief, while the community was still raising funds!
“We had complete confidence we’d find the funds,” Meagan laughs. And, indeed, they did.
The brief? Flora and Fauna.
“That was it!” Meagan explains.
“Jimmy did his own research. He was fantastic. He painted a Azure Kingfisher and a Sugar Glider. If you look closely, you can see one of the nesting boxes found on our river way.”
Rochester launched the installation in August 2019.
But since its completion, the Rochester Business Network sourced funding for floodlights.
And used proceeds from the donation tin at the site for seating and grass so visitors can picnic or just sit at the display.
Credit: Travelling Jewel Photography
RON IDDLE, ‘THE GOOD COP’
But the Rochester Business Network’s efforts didn’t finish there. This time sourcing funds painting a tribute to local icon Ron Iddle, a famous homicide detective.
Benalla artist Tim Bowtell painted the work on a concrete wall now-named Iddles Lane.
“Tim painted the silo at Colbinabbin about half and hour from here. Which means, if you like a particular artist you can follow them on a trail.”
Travellers overnighting at Rochester are also treated nightly projections onto the former Murray Goulburn Corporation factory, which commenced in March 2020.
“Two locals worked to find the right machine and the right spot to the projections,” says Meagan.
“The opportunities are endless. Whether we create something that is seasonal, special events like our Anzac Day tribute, or things happening within the community.”