May 14 - 20  2023: Issue 583


mural proposed for Mona Vale Road Sound Barrier: celebration of our area better than Graffitied long grey wall locals state

Avalon Beach resident Stephen Perry has written to Pittwater Online wondering if the community would support an extensive mural to be included on the sound barrier wall on northern side of Mona Vale Rd on the approach into Mona Vale. 

''As you will have seen in past weeks the extensive amount of graffiti has been painted over with a grey paint and the fear is that when subsequent roadworks are complete these wall panels will again become easy targets for graffiti abomination.  

All people coming down the hill have one thing in common, viz they are entering the northern beaches.'' Mr Perry said

''The suggestion is a “Welcome to The Northern Beaches” mural comprising a transition from Forestland to Ocean ( representing transition from Terry Hills / Duffy’s Forest area through the beaches of Mona Vale and beyond. 

Such a mural would be effected with graffiti proof paint.'' 

''The extensive roadworks transforming Mona Vale Road is to be commended and not detracted from.

Graffiti on public spaces is far too prevalent and if such a proposed mural eventuated it would represent continuing expression of what this area does well and not a blight.'' 

The murals on some building walls in Mona Vale and Avalon is far more appealing than any graffiti. One can see the contrast when driving under the Pacific Highway at Gordon, the disgusting rubbish covering the concrete overpass. 

For your information I have written Mr Rory Amon as local MP to garner his support in such a venture. He has written in reply that he has made representations to the Minister For Roads, the Hon. John Graham, MLC, about this proposal.''

Mural taking shape at Mona Vale in August 2020 - photo by Selena Griffith.

Stephens' idea has proved a popular one this week. After posting the idea on one Pittwater Online social media platform, residents have replied via email with a resounding 'Yes!' and 'It should be 'Welcome to Pittwater' or even no words at all, just the art.

Others have stated this could be created by local Artists with a real connection to our area and showcase that sense of beauty and home we all get when we reach Kimbriki and glimpse the blue ocean and then that slide down Tumbledown, when that first whiff of salt air brings on that sense of 'I'm home'.

Great examples are those now installed in the Pittwater YHA as part of their 50th celebrations in 2017, or the one on the western facing wall of the Avalon Beach RSL

In this instance Jasmine Hopcraft spotted a post by Daniel Hend on 'Avalon Whats On' - one of the numerous community forums for residents on Facebook.  Daniel was letting people know he was driving from Tasmania up to the Gold Coast muraling as he went.

Ms Hopcraft sprang into action and organised a fundraiser, explaining,

''The Avalon RSL have enthusiastically came on board and agreed that he can paint an amazing Australian Bush landscape on their wall in Bowling Green Lane (opposite the carpark). It 's under the Centenary Cockatoo emblem. 

The project was estimated to cost approximately $4k and the RSL kindly agreed to put in $1k. So we needed $3k - which I was sure we can do based on the enthusiastic comments from the community on his work. 

''I think it is really important to celebrate our beautiful tree canopy and celebrate our stunning gum trees.'' Jasmine said

The mural features local flora and fauna with a focus on Avalon’s Angophora and Spotted Gum forest to help foster a culture of appreciation and preservation of these majestic trees and ensuing wildlife in the community.

A focused art installation of this kind contributes to the reinvigoration of our community’s enthusiasm for fostering a culture of appreciation and preservation of the majestic gum trees and ensuring wildlife remain in our local lived environment.

By the community contributing their own money they are demonstrating that they are proud of where they live and willing to work together to protect its beauty.''

Jasmine kicked in the first donation herself and then everyone tumbled their coins and notes in. 

The mural was informed by local Ecologist Jayden Walsh, who has a vast knowledge of what is here, and was helped by Tom Borg McGee, one of our local wildlife rescuers and carers with a vast knowledge of local fauna. Tom, Jayden and Daniel walked through Stapleton Reserve in Avalon to get inspiration and share knowledge of what is still here and what we have lost due to the human impacts on this place of those who moved in and cleared trees, erected fences, introduced exotic weeds, foxes and domestic pets.  

Avalon Beach RSL mural

You will see Avalon's koalas, now gone, are part of the mural as ghosts. Similarly a swamp wallaby, once prolific here, and an echidna, are also ghosts.

Still present wildlife is vividly coloured and celebrates nocturnal residents such as possums and powerful owls, and those who fill our days with songs and their own individual natures as they make their 'rounds' or ptarols through this place - bush turkeys 'gobbles' alike large chickens on the ground, king parrots wink and chirrup at us from tree limbs, a kookaburra's cobalt wing feathers sparkle at us from among the similarly sparkling blue-green eucalypt trees - the pale salmon and deep reds of the angophoras, the bangalows, bush rocks, flannel flowers and heathland grasses knit through leaf mulch, a wattle is in bloom - the green shadows go deeper, invite you to gaze in where there is glowing lights.

Although those driving the cars may not be able to appreciate such a mural on the MVR sound barriers, their passengers could.

Considering how many thousands of visitors stream down this road to visit our area, with Mona Vale as their first 'port of call', the shift from bush to beach and a celebration of this would be a welcoming sight for visitors - much more so than a graffitied grey wall.

Pittwater MP Rory Amon confirmed he has written formally to the Hon. John Graham, and stated others have contacted him about the same idea, some suggesting planting out the area adjacent with native to our area trees and shrubs would also be appealing.

As local murals have been crowd funded in some cases, and this would be a lengthy one given the length and scale of the sound barrier, should the Minister For Roads express his government's support, this means of funding the work may also have to be considered.

At time of going to press, Pittwater Online, who also contacted the Hon. John Graham, are yet to hear back from the Minister.