Mural captures Chapman Valley’s story
Chapman Valley’s sheep shearing history has been immortalised in a big mural painted by artists Jane Barndon and Cam Fitzgerald.
The mural, comprising three, 2m-wide and 2m-high panels, was unveiled at the Chapman Valley Historical Society’s Heritage Centre on September 4.
Each panel depicts a different snapshot of the shearing story; on the right, a dog leaps over a fence as it herds sheep; in the middle panel, a man shears a sheep with hand shears; and on the left, shorn sheep return to the fields.
Barndon, who lives in Chapman Valley, said the mural complemented the museum’s shearing display perfectly.
“They’ve done an excellent job of curating a huge amount of Chapman Valley’s heritage,” she said.
“The mural is just the cherry on the cake and it had to be supporting of what they’ve done, which is amazing.”
The idea for a mural at the museum was first mooted in February when Barndon and members of the historical society committee went to a workshop on storytelling.
After toying with the idea for a few weeks, the committee approached Barndon about the project. She invited Fitzgerald to help out.
After receiving a few sketches of potential designs, the committee had only a few requirements.
“They specifically wanted hand shears in the panel,” Fitzgerald said.
“They also wanted the landscapes to speak to the place,” Barndon added.
“So when you look at them, you can tell they are set in Chapman Valley. It was interesting working a commission for a whole committee ... but they were very supportive and very open to being guided by us.”
Barndon even managed to sneak a reference to her own family in the centre panel.
“My father-in-law was a shearer; he passed away last year,” she said.
“I’ve put his name as the shearer in the painting, keeping a tally of how many sheep he’s sheared.”
The mural was funded by the historical society and a grant from the Geraldton Community Bank branch of Bendigo Bank.
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