Percy Hobson mural excites town


Councillor Victor Bartley was the driving force behind the fundraising effort for the Percy Hobson mural. Photo TWH

Bourke is buzzing with excitement as the Percy Hobson mural on the Bourke water tower nears completion.

The mural’s progress has been closely followed with enthusiasm and admiration, as the masterpiece unfolds. Lightning Ridge based artist John Murray says the mural team was making good headway as they headed into the second week on the job.

“We’ve undercoated, colour blended, and I have worked on Percy.

“Brian Smith and the local boys have done the totems and indigenous items round the bottom, so it’s great to have their local skills displaying qualities of the area, that they’re good at.

“The high jump bar went up Monday. I had to get another cherry picker to finish that part of the job.

“I found out it was really hard to do a straight line on a curved tank.

“I painted Percy ok – it was that darn bar that was tough,” John laughed.

“The groundcrew down here were all doing a great job. They’re a good team – Bob Barrett on ground control, Kasper our young assistant street artist from Melbourne has been a huge asset and of course the works of our own Brian Smith.

The big story about this work is that Bobby, Brian and John co-painted the ‘Swaggie Gateway to Bourke” sign thirty years ago.

“Brian was only 16 at the time and that we’re all back together again now is really great.

“When I first started talking to Victor Bartley about doing this job, I said ‘Yeah I’d love to do it but can we get the old team back together again? Just for the sake of it. It’s a great story,” John says.

The strangest thing of all for John is that for the last thirty years he’s been painting animals, birds and characters and he never paints people.

“What is it about Bourke? Thirty years ago, I painted two swaggies, which I never normally do, and thirty years later here I am again painting a person on a water tower - Percy Hobson – and what a privilege.

By the time this goes to print, John expects to be almost finished the entire project.


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