How were the artists engaged?

From the outset, this project was considered a major public art installation. Council sought best practice advice from a range of arts bodies throughout the development of the project brief and utilised the contact channels of Arts SA to build broad industry awareness of the project.

Council received 11 submissions, 2 of which were from local artists.

A local project advisory panel was developed which consisted of Elected Members, representatives of the Riddoch Art Gallery and Council administration. Using pre-defined selection criteria, the panel shortlisted 3 final pieces for final consideration.

The three options were presented to the community, allowing feedback via voting booths, email, and Council’s ‘Have your Say’ web site. This resulted in 921 responses and identified strong community support for the two of the three pieces.

In receipt of the outcome of the community engagement, Council resolved that both ‘Tracks’ and ‘Signalling Change’ be commissioned as the proposed artwork. 

What is the Mount Gambier Railway Lands?

The Mount Gambier Railway Lands is a dynamic, multipurpose, public space which has been transformed a long-unused rail corridor in the heart of Mount Gambier.

The site stretches from Bay Road to Wehl Street and includes a range of unique assets including an amphitheater, children's nature play area, paved large events plaza, raised sheltered market platform and open grassland.

BBQ facilities are located in a shelter accessible from the Wehl Street entrance to the site. Wheel chair accessible public toilets can be found within the old signal tower building adjacent to the central plaza and Elizabeth Street entrance to the site.


When was the Railway Lands be officially opened?

The Railway Lands was officially opened at a free community event held on Sunday 15 November 2015.

The opening, which was attended by approximately 7000 people, was a great opportunity for the community to start exploring, testing and trailing how the new site will lend itself to a wide range of events and activities.

Over 75 groups registered to participate in the event, and attractions included a platform market, pop-up bar and street food, steam engine rides, kids adventure play, yoga demonstrations, buskers, car displays, site tours, dance performances and live music.

The site will be officially launched by His Worship the Mayor, Mr Andrew Lee.


How will the Railway Lands be used?

How would you like to see it used?  

A significant amount of planning has gone into the development of the Railway Lands to provide high quality public space which can lend itself to a variety of different uses.

As a new public space, the Mount Gambier Railway Lands creates and exciting opportunity for the community to test and trial a range of activities in the site.

Council has created a cross-divisional team of staff who have the role of working with the community to deliver a program of activity at the Railway Lands. In the lead up to the opening, this team commenced an extensive community engagement program which included over 100 site visits and tours of the new space. Feedback generated from both these tours and consultation activity held during the opening day has helped to inform the program of activity at the Railway Lands moving forward.

If you'd like to discuss an idea for an event or activity:

1) Email us at The Rail 

2) Point us towards a social media post using #therail5290

3) Call us on 8721 2555 

Outside of events, the Railway Lands also creates a fantastic place for fitness and recreation, family picnics, kids nature-play and a range of leisure activity.

What is the The Rail Nature Play Space all about? Where's the slippery dips and swings?

The lack of slippery dips and swings at The Rail is quite deliberate. The Rail offers a unique play space, using natural features to recreate a natural play environment which encourages children to be creative with their play, assess risks, explore, test and imagine.

Children of all ages are already exploring Mount Gambier's largest sand pit, making mud pies, climbing, rolling, jumping, hiding and making long-lasting childhood memories.

One of the great things about the nature play area is that parents and caregivers can join in the fun too!

For more information about nature play, visit Nature Play SA 

What is the Commercial Fitness Agreement?

As a dynamic new public space, The Rail creates an exciting venue for a range of fitness and training activity. In response to interest from local fitness operators and personal trainers, The Rail Activation Team has created a simple agreement which creates the capacity the use of the space for commercial fitness activity without further application, for up two (2) hours in any given area of the site.  

The agreement, which stands until June 30 2016, waives any fees associated with commercial fitness use, subject to the participation in feedback activity with The Rail Activation Team. An important section of the form is the Code of Conduct, which guides the use of the site for fitness activity and reduces the capacity for conflict with other users.

Applicants must hold public liability insurance which extends to their use of the site, and provide a copy of this insurance to Council with the agreement.

Can I hold an event at the Railway Lands?

The Rail project team is very happy to receive enquires about events at the Railway Lands.

To discuss your event:

1) Email us at The Rail

2) Point us towards a social media post using #therail5290

3) Call us on 8721 2555 

4) Complete and submit a Site Booking Application Form which can be found here

You must contact us if you are planning any of the following:

  • you plan to publically promote your event (outside family and friends)
  • people would need to pay to attend your event
  • alcohol is being served or sold
  • the event is not able to be easily moved if your preferred space is being used for another purpose or another group
  • the event may have the capacity to impact on other users of the Railway Lands
  • you plan to have a marquee or bouncy castle or other form of infrastructure
  • you require the assistance of Council in any way

You don't need to contact us if:

  • your event is amongst your own family and friends
  • is able to moved to another space without too much fuss
  • can be delivered without any impact on other users of the Railway Lands

If in doubt, please contact the team at The Rail.


When do I need to inform Council about an event or activity at The Rail?

You must contact us if you are planning any of the following:

  • you plan to publically promote your event (outside family, friends or colleagues)
  • people would need to pay to attend your event
  • alcohol is being served or sold (BYO is fine)
  • the event is not able to be easily moved if your preferred space is being used for another purpose or another group
  • the event may have the capacity to impact on other users of the Railway Lands
  • you plan to have a marquee or bouncy castle or other form of infrastructure
  • you require the assistance of Council in any way

You possibly don't need to contact us if your event:

  • is amongst your own family and friends or close networks
  • can be moved to another space without too much fuss
  • can be delivered without any impact on other users of the Railway Lands
  • can be delivered without the need for assistance from Council 
  • you don't intend on installing any infrastructure (including marquees)

If in doubt, please contact the team at The Rail.


FAQ's - Installation of 'Signalling Change'

Why is Signalling Change being installed at the Mount Gambier Railway Lands?

Public art plays an important role in exploring our identity and fostering civic pride. We know that works of art can become familiar features generating a sense of ownership, a sense of place and helping cultivate community identity. Through public art, children and young people may come to love a city and appreciate art more broadly.

How was 'Signalling Change' funded?

The Mount Gambier Railway Lands was successful in attracting State Government funding through Arts SA to deliver two major commissioned artworks at the site. This was a highly competitive process and receipt of funding outside metropolitan Adelaide is known to be a rare occurrence. This funding contributed towards Council’s successful delivery of both ‘Tracks’ (recently installed) and ‘Signalling Change’.

How were the artists for the major commission engaged?

From the outset, this project was considered a major public art installation. Council sought best practice advice from a range of arts bodies throughout the development of the project brief and utilised the contact channels of Arts SA to build broad industry awareness of the project.

Council received 11 submissions, 2 of which were from local artists.

A local project advisory panel was developed which consisted of Elected Members, representatives of the Riddoch Art Gallery and Council administration. Using pre-defined selection criteria, the panel shortlisted 3 final pieces for final consideration.

The three options were presented to the community, allowing feedback via voting booths, email, and Council’s ‘Have your Say’ web site. This resulted in 921 responses and identified strong community support for the two of the three pieces.

In receipt of the outcome of the community engagement, Council resolved that both ‘Tracks’ and ‘Signalling Change’ be commissioned as the proposed artwork.

Who are the artists behind Signalling Change?

Signalling Change has been created by Trevor Wren & Danica (Dani) McLean.

Trevor and Dani have been working together as an artist team for the past 15 years. Both artists respect each other’s artistic integrity, creativity, and desire to produce public art that is engaging and constructed to a high standard. Individually and together their professional experience has been developed through many years involvement in the community arts and through numerous public art projects.

Trevor and Dani believe public art should tell a story with impact, have a sense of scale, appeal to both young and old, be interacted with, create discussion, and most importantly be relevant to the local community.

How do the artists describe ‘Signalling Change’?

This piece celebrates Mount Gambier's rich railway history by referencing railway signals, crossing barriers and indicator lights.

It's larger than life scale invites visitors, the local community and especially children to explore and investigate railway visual communication through shape, colour and light.

Signalling Change will make a prominent statement both night and day, and be highly visible from a distance through its physical height and bold colour. It will be inviting and welcoming to visitors, the local community and especially children, who will undoubtedly appreciate its scale.

The piece is child friendly and offer tunnel-like apertures through which children can safely crawl and play.

When will the installation be complete?

Installation of several sections of the artwork commenced on Wednesday 29/06/2016. Completion of the remaining sections and associated paving works is expected within two weeks.

Public Art

Why is public art being installed at the Mount Gambier Railway Lands?

Public art plays an important role in exploring our identity and fostering civic pride.We know that works of art can become familiar features generating a sense of ownership, a sense of place and helping cultivate community identity. Through public art, children and young people may come to love a city and appreciate art more broadly.

How was the project funded?

The project was funded by the State Government. The Mount Gambier Railway Lands was successful in attracting funding from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) through their ‘Open Space Funding Program’.This program contributed to many elements of the Railway Lands redevelopment, with a specific allowance allocated to the delivery of public artwork and sculptures.

Have Council engaged local artists?

Yes. Council completed a significant stakeholder engagement process which included over 100 meetings and site visits and the collation of surveys of hundreds of participants at events since the opening.

The murals and the nature play sculptures deliver the aspirations of our community. Feedback identified throughout the consultation that these public artworks at the Railway Lands should:

    • be delivered by local artists
    • be interactive
    • be of a professional quality; and
    • demonstrate a connection to the site(past or present)

What else does this project mean for our City?

  • Local artwork is an investment in our local artists.
  • The artwork provides educational outcomes.
  • Installation of the artworks extends on the capacity of local contractors (for example the Diana Wiseman mural requires engaging the services of local sign writers ‘Hyland Fox’ to print and install the piece)
  • We’re celebrating local excellence and being proud of what we do.

How many murals are being delivered?

Two significant pieces will be installed on the site from artists Diana Wiseman and Ben Brumby. While each piece is temporary, each has the capacity to be on display for several years.

Who is Diana Wiseman?

Diana Wiseman is a local visual artist who has developed acclaim for her work as a printmaker and painter. A former Junior Primary school teacher, Diana was a founding member of the Friends of Riddoch Art Gallery and is a passionate local advocate for the arts. She has exhibited locally every year since 1979 and her work is held in many private collections and galleries. This is the first opportunity for Diana to present her work in such a large scale within the public realm in Mount Gambier. Diana Wiseman is an accomplished local artist and the project created an excellent opportunity for us, as a City, to acknowledge and celebrate her work. Furthermore, the art has been large-scale printed and installed with the assistance by local contractors Hyland Fox.

Why was Diana Wiseman's piece selected?

The piece is of significant quality. As a professional artist, Diana is increasingly building acclaim. She has completed 5 solo exhibitions in Adelaide and is soon to be profiled as part of an exhibition in Melbourne. The creation of the mural required great precision, with her 30 x 95cm print shipped to Sydney to be professionally scanned before returning to Mount Gambier to be locally printed at 10 times its original size. The piece has a unique connection to the site. The mural features the images of birds whose names were used for individual carriages of the ‘Bluebird Railcars’ which provided rail passage for many local residents to Adelaide. This subtle link will be appreciated by many local people who utilised this service and its once significant function for Mount Gambier.

How was this piece selected?

A unique space required a unique process. Over 20 local artists were engaged in a collaborative process which resulted in 6 concepts being presented for consideration. This process recognised the development opportunity for many local artists to extend on their skills in the delivery of large scale murals – something not often seen in Mount Gambier. Successful pieces were recommended to Council based upon criteria matching the aspirations of the community as identified in previous consultations.

Who is Ben Brumby?

Ben Brumby is well known to many people as a local sign write and airbrush artist. His capacity extends from custom designs to photo realist portraits.

While much of his art has been in the automotive and motorcycle scene, Ben has working on a variety of substrates from golf clubs to the large scale mural now displayed at the Railway Lands.

Ben annually works with and studies under world renowned Australian and International artists. He is passionate about the craft of painting and hopes this work will build greater recognition of the use of airbrush as a unique tool for artists.

Why was Ben's piece selected?

Ben’s work is bold, edgy and different to anything seen already in Mount Gambier on a public scale. This significantly contributed to the selection panel’s support for his concept.

Throughout the development of the piece, as Ben’s initial concept has evolved, we now see that the old guitar has become a crucial feature in the work. The Guitar is a Barclay – the very guitar Ben’s Grandfather used to strum out old Jazz tunes and Country music over 4 decades ago. Ben describes him as having been ‘a true artist’, stating that music was crucial to him, like it is to so many people - music was both a release and a passion.

Ben’s painting represents the liberating effect music has upon many people. The bright colours which surround the semi-realist central figures (painted in black and white) represent the vibrancy and transportive effect of the music being played. Although the musician is almost faceless, he could be many people.

This is an important work, ambitious in scale, and subject matter. It celebrates people’s ability to be transported through music – no matter their circumstances. It is a tribute to the arts and announces there is something new going on in Mount Gambier, which is exactly what was sought.