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Sheffield - Town of Murals.
High and Hope Street.
Early Trading at the skin shed
Stitched together image of finished mural using 7 different photographs.
After this mural I never ever wanted to paint on such a surface again. I had so much respect for the artists who had painted on such a mixture of surfaces at Sheffield,there was 6 levels on each clip lock. To paint a face involved chasing it around the plains and still try to make it work. I was pleased with the dog in the cart and its horse. I was saving up the one flat surface of the door to paint the small animals but I had a plane to catch home and ran out of time, so John Lendis came in and painted it.
The mural was situated at the corner of High and Hope St Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia. Lol.Love it story of my life high hopes.I had some help from locals. John Lendis had started the murals at Sheffield and I think I was the second or third artist to work there.I did not want the work, the surface was awful, the money was low and I wanted to go home after a serious accident, surgery and I was very concerned about and missing my son, Simon Chawner who I had to send home from Hobart. Mount Roland where John lived was magnificent, and the surrounding valleys all the way to Cradle mountain was "Paradise". and I am glad to have experienced it.I was first put into a older style caravan but a stormy scary night put a end to this, then I tried to board with a young single mum who worked on the mural but the age difference and our way of life was worlds apart. I found a world of kids with really low levels of education.They graduated at 15-16 and only a few went to collage; the main lands version of years 11 -12. These collages were situated only in main population centers so most kids left school early.In the North a laconic drawl,a touchy self defensiveness, poor prospects and often narrow perspective was then apparent with the kids I met. The dole, single parenthood, old before they had gone past their teen years. We laughed about going on the dole growing some vegetables and getting a sheep for meat, was the ultimate life ambition - actually sounds ok especially if you lived in paradise.I finished up staying with Denise, David and their children, who were growing strawberries,setting up tearooms and who both had worked very hard to establish the mural town. They were great people who helped me a lot. On freezing mornings with snow on the distance Western Tiers, a hot coffee, misty breathe and a cup of great local hot chips got me under way. The day eventually warmed up and we beavered away. It was a friendly community, and the vision of these early artists and friends started a scheme of murals and community working together to create a industry of tourism. Still being in such a great natural environment helped as well. Trying to find photos of this era was impossible, we did photos of the horse and cart and the dogs ourselves, was given the photograph of the boss with skins at the end . I found some in old history books but was laughed at by the locals at a public meeting. One was drinking from a water bottle and they said they never needed water bottles in Tassie as there was water every were.. The clothes needed in a colder climate was different as well. Snow, water, creeks, rivers,all different. I now know why early immigrant artists painted "Old" Europe and took time to open their "eyes" me! I was laughed at, I thought it was funny too.so we all laughed at each other. The Catholic - protestant divide was still alive on Sundays. Them and us happens every where.
."Early Trading At The Skin Shed. The Theme of this mural,on the southern side of the Hub Recycling Center, situated on the corner of High and Hope Streets, is of the trappers and snarers of the 1930s as they came to trade their skins at the Wilcox Mofflin Skin Store. An integral part of the economy during the Great Depression, was the income derived from the sale of rabbit, possum, kangaroo and wallaby by trappers. In 1934 there were 1.5 million ring-tailed possum skins brought in by the trappers. Nowadays snaring and trapping is illegal.This mural shows the manager of the skin store Mr Norm Croome, holding Mr Bill Steers,drinking, skin-laden horse.Inside the shed, the skins are hung up and dried, to be ultimately sold around the world for ladies and gents hats. Next we have Mr Jack Dunn of Roland,known as the districts greatest rabbit trapper, further downat the end is Mr Tommy McCoy another notable trapper and snarer. The shed smelt very ripe and this smell stayed in the building for years later.The assistents were Andrew Evans, Maree Gent and Christopher Pagel, young folks of the town.
Story Australasian Post, February 11,1989. page 43.
From the booklet Tasmania's Outdoor Gallery . The Murals of the Kentish District.
Mount Roland and "Paradise"
Ted and Laurice Sharmen
84 at Paradise. Married 65 years, the couple have lived all their lives there.It had 5 or 6 houses. absolutely love this photo. The Sunday Tasmanian Sunday April16, 1989. Other wonderful district names include Beulah, No Where Else, Promised Land, Garden Of Eden,Devil's Gullet.
David and Denise James funded this mural at their home and strawberry farm.
I stayed at their place and they became friends and great supporters. David was then the president of the Kentish Association for Tourism.
High and Hope Street
So I just made the plane home, very tired with many memories of my Tasmanian adventure, but I did achieve a lot. 2 murals, 1 trade union banner,all finished.mm.