Situated beside Mair Street near the Monash Bridge in Benalla, Benalla Ceramic Mural was officially opened in 2010 by Mayor Cr Bill Hill. It took nearly 27 years to complete this widely acclaimed and recognised cultural feature of Benalla.
The Ceramic Mural project began in 1983 as a community initiative integrating the skills of artists, architects, and community members. Created with the concept of an open gallery, the mural invites passers by to rest and reflect and provides space for children to play. The Mural is situated opposite to Benalla Art Gallery and is part of the collection of the Gallery.
The ceramic and terracotta mural includes a frieze wall and an upper terrace with views across Lake Benalla, an amphitheatre, a thongaphone, circular seat and landscaped surroundings. A thongaphone is a sculpted tuned pipe. The design of the mural is inspired by Gaudi’s Parc Guell in Barcelona, Spain.
The plan of the mural is geometrical and based on the Yin Yang symbol. One circle contains the amphitheatre, and the other circle includes winter garden, arcade and upper terrace lookout. The dome tower sitting above the bowl of the amphitheatre symbolises the male female symmetry.
The project was initiated in 1983 by Forum Adult Education Group and Benalla Shire with an aim to create a renaissance of art and culture in Benalla. Forum CAE is now part of ‘’The Centre’’ in Wangaratta. Gough Whitlam Government when came to power in 1972, established Australia Council for Art, which ensured a resurgence of Australian art. This encouragement to the art communities in Australia continued with Hawke Government. The mural project received two grants through Craft Board during the Hawke years. Judy Lorraine was employed as the Ceramic Artist in Residence from 1985. The Bicentennial Foundation in 1988 funded her again.
The model for the mural and the architectural drawing were created by Judy Lorraine. David N Moore served as Project Coordinator and David W Moore as Education Officer during the Mural’s planning stages.
For more than 20 years Judy Lorraine and David W Moore remained actively committed to the development of the Mural. Contributors to the Mural have included nationally significant artists, 1000 regional students and countless volunteers. The Mural has integrated the skills of traditional potters, the vision of indigenous people and passion of guided amateurs, young and old.
Today, the mural defines the beautiful township of Benalla.
Location: Mair Street, Benalla, Victoria, 3672