Countryside Charm & Silo Art: The Perfect Day Trip
Ever since silo art surfaced in 2015, it has revitalised rural and regional towns throughout Australia, turning them into canvases for grand public art.
Silo art has sparked a surge of local pride as these magnificent murals often depict the area's unique flora, fauna, or significant local events. These artworks have become a remarkable draw for art enthusiasts, day-trippers, and those keen to delve into the rich history and culture of rural Australia.
We're proud to present our Silo Art Trail that highlights the spirited ethos of our local communities. The North East Silo Art Trail is not only a favoured driving route but also one of the most accessible, inviting you to leisurely explore our heritage-rich small towns and breathtaking natural landscapes.
Famed Australian large-scale artist Jimmy Dvate has created a stunning artwork on working grain silos in Goorambat, just 15 minutes’ drive north of Benalla between Shepparton and Wangaratta. Painted in 2017, the first thing you see are three enormous Clydesdale horses pulling a plough; an important symbol of the toil that went into creating the ongoing agricultural industry so important in this area.
Around the corner, nature is highlighted with an endangered Barking Owl. The artist also painted the well-known Ned Kelly mural in Benalla and the glorious Waikerie Silo on the Murray in South Australia.
Just a 2-minute stroll past the Railway Hotel, Matt Adnate’s beautiful “Sophia” mural can be seen in the Uniting Church. While the church isn’t always open, it’s worth stopping off for the chance to see this stunning representation of the female aspect of God.
Drop in for a snack, meal or drink at the Goorambat Railway Hotel, which has an extensive menu and is open for lunch and dinner.
After a straight 12-minute drive north, you’ll be at the blink-or-you’ll-miss-it Devenish silos, next to the Devenish train station.
The military services theme is at once beautiful and sombre in this installation, created in 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the end of WWI. The first two silos depict a modern female army medic and a WWI-era nurse, in tribute to the importance of local area women (and women in general) play in times of conflict. Artist Cam Scale returned to complete the third silo in 2019, showing a distinctive WWI Light Horseman.
Next to the silos is a shed holding the TC Trewin Agricultural Museum. The small collection comprises important farming machinery from the past, and includes a harvester, Sunshine header, binder, a Bedford truck from the 1930s and more.
Directly opposite the Silo Art, you'll find Devenish Railway Hotel, a quaint country pub known for its Devonshire teas and classic pub meals (closed Wednesdays).
St James Silos
Five minutes further north is St James, where artist Tim Bowtell painted four silos to celebrate the town’s agricultural and commercial history.
One of the silos celebrates the one-time owner of the local general store, Sir George Coles, who expanded his retailing from this one shop to a nation-wide empire we now know as Coles Supermarkets.
The other silos depict St James’ grain transporting history. Before the railway extension in 1886, St James was the drop off point for all the wheat from surrounding towns. The grain was stored here before being transported to Melbourne by horse-drawn cart and, later, trucks.
Directly opposite the Silo Art, you'll find the St James Pub, which offers classic pub food and a Mexican menu, as well as coffee, muffins and snacks. More snacks and cold drinks for the road are available at the general store next door.
Another 10 minutes north and you’ll be in Tungamah. In 2018, two Tungamah silos were painted by Australia’s first female silo artist, West Australian Sobrane Simcock. In keeping with her usual practice, Simcock depicts iconic Australian bird life – dancing Brolgas, a Kookaburra, a Galah, a Humming bird, a cheeky owl hiding in the leaves, a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, two small wrens and a white Ibis, sitting in the foliage of a gum tree. They’re located to the right off the main street, alongside the train station. The silos are still operational and are privately owned.
If you keep your eyes open across the region, you might also spot the artist’s work in Numurkah and Bundalong. Standing alongside a long row of unpainted silos, Tungamah has the canvases ready to become a living gallery in the future.
If you feel like a break or a meal, the beautiful, heritage-listed Tungamah Hotel is a five-minute walk, serving pub lunches and dinners. Between the silos and the pub is the shady Boyd Street Park; a nice place for a rest or a picnic.
Benalla artist Tim Bowtell, already a local legend for his St James silos, is the creative talent behind the Katamatite silo art, which will be located just 15 minutes northwest of Tungamah. The silos are just a few hundred metres south of the town in the Broken-Boosey State Park.
Katamatite Lions Club is spearheading a fundraising campaign for the silo art project, and already has a significant amount raised. The project will add to the popularity of the existing North East Silo Art trail, and will be a great opportunity for visitors to enjoy Katmatite and the surrounding area.
Visitors will be able to enjoy meals at the Tavern or Tin Shed Bakery and take in the town’s shops, selling antiques, fresh flowers and local produce.
Katamatite is just 12 minutes from Cobram and 22 minutes from Yarrawonga.
Bookmarking your silo art tour is another glorious work by Jimmy Dvate, who also created the Goorambat silo art. This last stop on the silo tour is easily visible from the roadside in a bushland reserve on the main street of town. The operational, privately owned silo features a brightly coloured Superb Parrot, a species common in the area in and around Barmah National Park. It was completed in late 2020.
Just a short stroll away is the Picola Heritage Park, hosting signs explaining Picola’s role in the vital timber industry of the 1800s.
The Picola silos are another example of public art breathing new life into regional and rural Australian towns. This small town had been slowly getting smaller, with the closure of the railway line, general store, petrol station and finally the pub over the past years. With the silo art has come a steady stream of visitors, which has led to the reopening of the Picola Hotel and Café, serving patrons every day, and featuring RV-friendly parking.
Your Route Details
Our curated collection of six silo artworks spans from south to north (or vice versa, if you wish!) along the road linking Benalla to Cobram, extending west nearly to Barmah. Covering exactly 100km from end to end, the drive takes approximately 70 minutes. Opting for the scenic back roads loop back to your starting point will put you in the car for just two and a half hours.
However, we recommend dedicating an entire day to this journey. Take time to pause for meals and rest, wander through the towns you pass, engage with the locals, absorb the history, and bask in the fresh air.
This guide outlines the route starting from the south in Goorambat, but feel free to begin from the north in Picola, or anywhere along the route if you're planning a loop. Your adventure, your way.
Since the first appearance of silo art in 2015, regional and rural towns across Australia have been transformed by these large-scale public artworks.
Boosting civic pride – the art typically features flora, fauna, people or events of meaning to the local area – silo art has also become a magnet for art lovers, day trippers and anyone interested in the history and culture of rural and regional Australia.
We boast a Silo Art Trail that showcases our vibrant local communities. The North East Silo Art Trail is not only one of our most popular driving tours, it’s also one of the easiest, encouraging exploration of our historic small towns and stunning natural environment at a relaxed pace.
So whether you’re making a day of it, passing through, or taking your time exploring the region, our silo art trail is a fun way to take in the best of small-town Australia.