Water tower art puts Cressy on the map

The first “silo artwork” in the Colac Otway Shire has been completed on the Cressy water tower, thanks to a partnership between Barwon Water and the Cressy & District History Group.

The project was the initiative of the Cressy & District History Group, with the intent of showcase the local history of the area at the same time as creating a tourist attraction.

The works were completed by renowned silo artist Tim Bowtell who is responsible for many silo artworks across Victoria and New South Wales, including the six silos at Colbinabbin, Victoria, which are critically acclaimed and popular with visitors.

Cressy & District History Group President and Project Coordinator Robyn Alexander said Tim had done a fantastic job on the four murals on the Cressy Water Tower, which depict significant aspects of the region’s local history.

“On one column facing Colac Ballarat Road, there is the Woady Yallock River where Cressy was founded, on the rear column there is a steam train representing our vibrant railway history, on each side of the barrel are two vintage aircraft representing the Cressy RAAF Base which operated during World War II, so you will see a Hawker Demon on one side and a Spitfire on the other side.”

Ms Alexander said the completion of the project marked the end of a 12-year journey from when the idea was first seeded, and five years of planning since 2019.

“Thanks to Barwon Water for the use of the tower and funding partners Berrybank Wind Farms through the Corangamite Shire and the Golden Plains Shire, Colac Otway Shire, Mt Gellibrand Wind Farm, and Golden Plains Wind Farm.”

Tim Bowtell said the mural was one of the more challenging he a had worked on given the shape and height of the 60-foot tower and the 365-degree nature of the work.

“It is the highest work I’ve completed and I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out.

“It’s great to be able to work on projects like this, that tell a bit about the local history and have a really positive local impact.”

Barwon Water General Manager Customers, Community and Strategy Laura Kendall said the organisation was happy to support the project, which will promote an identity for Cressy, fostering growth and development for their community.

“We’re glad to be able to provide in-kind support of the use of the Cressy water tower as a base for the mural.

“It’s a project that will positively impact economically, culturally and socially, in turn invigorating community life and promoting community pride.”

The Cressy water tower, built in the early 1960s, is located on New Station Street and is a landmark for those approaching the township.

As well as now artistically representing some of the region’s history and extending the Silo Arts Trail along the Hamilton Highway, from which it is visible, the tower marks the northern most point of Barwon Water’s Colac region supply system.

It remains a crucial part of Cressy’s water supply infrastructure by gravity feeding water into the town’s drinking water network.