Historic mural, Ouyen, Victoria
Several years ago we had a short holiday in Victoria and New South Wales. Our main objective was to take my mother-in-law to her sister’s funeral in Parkes. On the first day of our trip we stopped for lunch in the small mallee town of Ouyen in north west Victoria. This town is a service centre for a wide area of wheat and sheep farming in this district. It was beginning to decline but has had a boost in recent years due to tourism.
We were fascinated by the mural painted on the side of one of the buildings in the town centre. This mural pictorially depicted the history, growth, development and industries of the town and the surrounding district. It also featured some of the wonderful flora and fauna found there.
The mural tells of the struggles of the early settlers in this harsh environment as they attempted to make a living from the land. Early forms of transport are shown along with farming equipment and buildings. One scene depicts a steam train unloading water into an open drain. This water would probably have come from the River Murray some distance away. There are no natural river courses near Ouyen and water would have been essential for the farms to develop, as well as for the farm animals. The evaporation from the drains was enormous – probably as much as 90% in summer, so desperately needed pipelines were later installed.
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