THE blank grey walls of Warrnambool’s breakwater would make an ideal canvas for local artists and an ode to our maritime history, according to resident Don Porter.
The idea came from a visit to the Irish port town of Wicklow earlier this year, when Mr Porter was struck by the similarity of Wicklow’s breakwater toWarrnambool’s.
But whereas the city’s breakwater is something of an eyesore, Wicklow’s is decorated with images of the many boats that frequent or pass by the harbour, he said.
Mr Porter said local artists could be employed to paint images of local shipwrecks on the breakwater walls, potentially turning the concrete barrier into a tourist attraction.
“There’s so much potential down there,” he said.
“It’s so bland and so grey.”
Mr Porter said the south-west had many talented artists who could be employed to produce scale renditions of ships lost at sea along the Shipwreck Coast.
“We’ve got a bigger history of maritime disaster than (most places have),” he said.
“It could be an educational thing as well.
“The more I keep going down there, the more I think that it’s still a good idea.”
Mr Porter said he was raising the idea to see what the public thought of it.
“If people object to it, I’m happy to accept that. I just thought I’d put it out there and see if people get behind the concept.”
Warrnambool Art Gallery director John Cunningham says the idea is worth exploring.
“Any idea that uses our built-in, man-made environment to tell our story can only be a good thing,” Mr Cunningham said. “It depends what happens with the port redevelopment (but I think) it’s a great idea.
“Flagstaff Hill has information that charts 180-odd wrecks along here.
“I know Belfast did a multi-million-dollar renovation of its harbour area based on the Titanic and really revived the whole place.
“We don’t have the Titanic, but we do have 180 other stories to tell.”
Along with plans to beautify the Warrnambool CBD’s alleyways and recent public art installations, Mr Cunningham said it was another way to make art prominent and accessible in the city.