Riverland

The country changed a little as I approached Morgan, which is on the Murray, the plains were dotted with saltbush rather than dead grass or no grass. The dusty green-blue of saltbush was a welcome change from dull brown that I had been travelling through since I arrived in SA. I crossed the Murray on a ferry at Waikerie, a largish town of nearly 3,000 people. The name ‘Waikerie’ is said to mean ‘many wings’, after the giant rainmoth ‘Wei kari’, the name given to the moth by the indigenous peoples of the area. The silos I was to visit were visible from the ferry so easy to find and plenty of parking available on the roadside. The silos have been painted by two different artists, one semi-abstract and the other lifelike. Both artists used enamel paints, exclusively on the semi-abstract silo whereas the other silo was mainly painted with aerosol spray cans. The work took 16 weeks to complete and used nearly 500 litres of paint. Sorry about the car in the foreground, I could have picked a better place to park.

Waikerie Silos

I think the left hand abstract silo is well painted but I find the colours a bit subdued, I think silos look better with more vibrant colours, unless the artist uses sepia tones or just black and white. The theme for both is a healthy riverscape so on the left-hand silos there are fish, turtles and cockatoos that are prevalent in the area.

Waikerie Yabby

The Yabby is fantastic, such detail and beautiful colouring, perfect shadows, so lifelike, one of the best paintings I have seen on a silo.

Waikerie Silos Rear View

This photo is of the back of the silos. At the bottom right of the left-hand silo you can see some moths, these are the Rainmoths after which Waikerie was named. The parrot is the endangered Regents Parrot painted above the river a brown rock bank, characteristic of so many of the bends in the Murray in SA.

Waikerie Silo Regents Parrot

I think this is a wonderful artwork, when you think about the scale of the painting and the detail achieved, the artist has done such a brilliant piece of work.

The next silo I visited was at Paringa, which is near Renmark, about 50 Km from where I am camped. I found it a bit disappointing, but it did celebrate significant people in the area, but it was not to my taste.

Paringa Silos

The silo on the right features Charles Chaffey, one of the Chaffey brothers, who instigated the irrigation of the riverland area, which had an enormous impact on agriculture in Australia. The silo on the left is of Sister Balfour-Ogilvy who was one of the nurses machine gunned by the Japanese in what is known as the Banka Straits Massacre. Of the 22 nurses only sister Bullwinkle famously survived by lying in the water, wounded and motionless with the other dead nurses. She visited my kinder when I was a kid, she seemed to me a very formidable person, much like Miss Hugo a teacher at Ashy State School.

Sister Balfour-Ogilvy, Japanese Massacre Survivor

After Paringa I headed off for lunch and ended up in Berri at the Berri Hotel Bistro right on the Murray with a landscaped grassed river bank and wonderful red gums as the outlook. I enjoyed excellent fish and chips, I have yet to have any inferior fish and chips in all the many trips I have made to SA. The most memorable was at Peterborough many years ago, when Marg and I enjoyed King George Whiting in a pub bistro, perfectly prepared and presented, and that’s 100s of Ks from the coast. It is strange that the people who enjoy “pie floaters” (pies floating in pea soup) also want and enjoy excellent fish and chips. On the way home I visited a mural and sculpture in Berri on an abutment of a bridge over the Murray.

Aboriginal Warrior at Berri

You had to walk a short way to the mural and this sculpture was at the start of the walk. The tonings of the mural under the bridge were subdued, but interesting abstract shapes and yabbies.

Berri Bridge Mural

There was also another steel sculpture panel next to the bridge abutment that was well done.

Sculpture at Berri Bridge Abutment

I was going to do some travelling in Victoria but that is now off the agenda, so it will be a quick trip home for me tomorrow. I decided to put the drone up one last time at the caravan park to show how the Murray twists around in this part of its journey to the coast.

Murray at Kingston on Murray

The water at the bottom of the photo is the Murray at the caravan park, in the middle of the photo you can see a fine line of water leading to a patch of water on the right, that is the Murray going back on itself. Then at the top you can see some more water on the left of the photo which is another bend in the Murray. It is a real zig-zag with each zig and zag being a few kilometers long. It is a wonderful river and I love it.

So I’ll sign off and see you next time I go travelling.

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