WERRIBEE WATER TOWER MURAL
Arts Assist – creating a community art piece
Arts Assist has a long history of supporting the arts in Wyndham, in Melbourne’s west, and is very proud to be the project lead that created a community art piece in the heart of Wyndham.
The project has transformed a disused concrete 18m water tower, located at 1 Tower Road Werribee, into a giant mural.
The water tower is a historic landmark in the town centre of Werribee. It has played a significant role to the local community and to the development of Werribee. The water tower has great public visibility, acts as a gateway to Werribee town centre and has the potential to become a significant artistic and tourist landmark.
Appointment of the artist was determined via a two stage commissioning process.
Stage one – Arts Assist advertised the commission, inviting artists to submit an expression of interest that detailed their experience and expertise.
Stage two – from the submissions, a shortlist of three artists were invited to prepare visual concept proposals. The visual concepts were assessed by the project working party, and the artist who best responded to the project brief was appointed.
Arts Assist was very excited to appoint Hayden Dewar as the mural artist. Hayden is a Melbourne based muralist, illustrator and visual artist: www.haydendewar.com
The water tower, originally built in 1914, needed some love and care. In April 2020, the water tower was drained, high pressure cleaned both inside and out, all leaks sealed, and an undercoat painted in preparation of the artwork.
Hayden Dewar, along with artist assistant, ShmekOne, commenced artwork installation onsite in May 2020. The mural was completed in July 2020, took 40 days onsite to complete, and used 180 litres of paint.
The mural design depicts how water supply helped grow the township of Werribee, the importance of healthy waterways and the importance of agriculture in the area.
Hayden Dewar drew inspiration from Werribee-based historical photos of a water bailiff as well as farmers of Werribee South market gardens.
The centrepiece of the mural is a water bailiff, checking the speed of a Dethridge Wheel, which measures the flow of water delivered to farms for irrigation.
The Werribee River also features, as do locally significant flora and fauna: River Red Gum trees, (which are commonly found along the Werribee River); a Platypus; a Growling Grass Frog; and up high on the tank, critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrots, who fly through Werribee as part of their migration pattern.
History of the water tower
The concrete water tower was built by the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission in 1914 to create sufficient water pressure for distribution throughout the Werribee township.
Water was pumped up into the Tower from an adjacent settling basin, which was in turn supplied from the Werribee Diversion Weir and channel from the Werribee River.
The channel is still in use as part of the irrigation supply to the Werribee South market gardens. The tower was decommissioned when Werribee was connected to Melbourne’s water supply system in the late 1960s.
The Werribee water tower was originally built in 1914
Remediation works were completed in April 2020
Appointed artist, Hayden Dewar, and artist assistant, ShmekOne, commence artwork installation in May 2020
Artwork installation in progress (May 2020)
The mural was completed in July 2020. A model of a Dethridge Wheel sits in the foreground.
Aerial view of the completed mural (July 2020)
The mural was completed in July 2020
Project gratefully funded with the support of the State Government of Victoria through the Community Support Fund.
Project Lead: Arts Assist
Project Partner: Southern Rural Water
Thanks to the members of the project working party, made of Arts Assist, Southern Rural Water, and community representatives, for their time and passion.
Thank you to those who contributed to the consultation process that helped inspire the artwork design, in particular Southern Rural Water, Werribee South market garden families and local community groups.