THE line from Dorothea Mackellar's famous poem, I love a sunburnt country, "of drought and flooding rains" certainly rang true for Gunnedah residents this week.
After years of drought, locals have now been inundated with water as floods wreak havoc on harvest and dams overflow.
The words, standing as a constant reminder of the battle people on the land face, are painted across the Gunnedah Maize Mill, with the striking silo art mural finally complete this week.
Last week, Melbourne-based artist Heesco Khosnaran returned to Gunnedah after months of lockdowns to add the finishing touches and complete the mural on the small silo.
Mill owner, Stephen Dangerfield, also spent hours cleaning the original image in preparation for the application of a UV coat, to provide protection from the sun and extend the life of the mural for another five to six years.
Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society's Owen Hasler said it was marvelous to finally see the mural complete under difficult circumstances caused by COVID, and the community is very proud of the outcome.
"Last week when he was working on it, I spent a lot of time down there with him and the numbers of people who were coming through and specifically on the art trail was amazing," he said.
"When you consider that this whole project was based on a drought resilience fund grant, and at the time the drought was still in effect, it's gone from one extreme to another that's for sure.
"And with COVID as well, it's been a long and challenging project, but we're very proud of the end result and the feedback we're getting from both locals and visitors is fabulous and outstanding."
Mr Hasler said the society has nominated the mural for the Australian Street Art Awards next year and they're optimistic they can pick up a win.
"We've nominated in two categories - the mega mural award and the regional art award - so hopefully we might be recognised in one of those," he said.
"We just hope the judges will be suitably impressed but we'll find out in early March."
Public artwork in Gunnedah has been successful at the awards in the past, with the town's Rainbow Serpent Water Feature taking home silver in the 2020 in the category of Best Rural Art.
Gunnedah Shire Council also has plans for more public artwork in the not-so-distant future.
"Council has the funding for another one, but they're still in the consultation process for which silo it will go on and what will be the subject but that will be a while off yet and take probably at least 12 months," Mr Hasler said.
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