Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Sunday 20 November 2022

Wellington Dam wall mural, and the Collie mural art trail, Western Australia

 Hi everyone. I hope you are doing well. I realised last week when I posted about our little 2 day getaway at Potters Gorge at Wellington Dam that I hadn't finished telling you the story which I started in November 2020 about the painting of the Wellington Dam wall  We went up to the dam several times during the painting of the mural, so I thought I should finish the story I started in 2020. 

Officially opened in February 2021, the massive 8,000 square metre Wellington Dam wall mural, thought to be the largest in the world painted by a single artist, is a sight not to be missed.

The dam wall mural is the work of internationally acclaimed Canadian born artist, Guido Van Helten who grew up in inner city Melbourne.  Renowned throughout the world for his photorealistic large scale murals, Guido was influenced at a young age by traditional graffiti and was introduced to aerosol painting at a young age.

Entitled “Reflections” the dam wall mural has been inspired by local stories and photographs collected by Guido to reflect a sense of history and community.  For three weeks before he started on the project Guido met with people in Collie, asked about their lives, their connections with the dam, and collected their photos. 

Aboriginal culture, the natural environment and settlement history are incorporated into the work. Children are central, none are looking at the camera, they are playing and interacting with the water. 

The massive artwork which commenced in November 2020 required a specially designed scaffolding platform.  The mechanical swing-stage had to be raised and lowered as the mural was painted, and needed to be dismantled to move across the wall. Abseiling was used for cleaning and applying the base coat.

The pictures were drawn and mapped onto a grid to assist Guido to translate his designs from concept to the scaled mega-mural.

Guido said he did not know how much paint had been used but said the key to coping with such a large piece of work was organisation. "You need a good plan to put it all together…It took all my waking hours”.

To best appreciate the scale of the work on the 367m x 34metre wall face, I suggest viewing from ground level via the walkway along Falcon Drive at the base of the wall (where these photos you see were taken), although access to the bridge and walkway is temporaily closed due to upgrades being carried out on the bridge. 

You can also see the overall view from the lookout above where there are information panels.  We visited several times while the work was in progress. From the lookout we had a closer view of Guido working. We could see him painting with a large paint brush and referring to a plan in his hand as he worked. 

Funded by the state government, the mural is part of a plan to diversify the economy of the traditional coal-mining town and bring visitors to the Collie region, 200kms south east of Perth. The Wellington dam is 30 kilometres from Collie. 

The mural is the centrepiece of the new Collie Mural Trail which includes 37 murals through the town of Collie. The Trail showcases the talents of local and leading Australia artists, and tells stories about the Collie River valley’s living heritage and history. A trail map can be downloaded or collected from the Collie Visitor Information Centre on Throssell Street, so this is the best place to start. Check out the Collie Railway Museum while you are there. 

One of the mural trail project managers and artists is Andrew Frazer from Bunbury. "The trail is part of a larger vision of Collie being a trail town, which extends into mountain biking and hiking and a whole heap of outdoor experiences," he said. "Having art in public places allows people to engage with this creativity in a way that perhaps they haven't previously." Andrew worked on several pieces including The Endless Adventure collaboration with Collie youth.

The mural art trail reflects indigenous culture, history, youth, mining, industry and recreation. It is certainly worth a few hours strolling around the town looking at the art works. Make a day to visit to the dam and Collie. 

QR codes adjacent to each mural give you more information on the pieces and the artists. Children may enjoy searching for the 12 brush-tailed phascogales hiding around the town’s walls. 

Find out more by clicking on these links -

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Thank you so much for stopping by. I love street art. Do you? Perhaps you could tell us about what you may have in your area in your comments. 

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Camping and bushwalking at Potters Gorge, Wellington Dam, Western Australia

 When we first camped at Potters Gorge at Wellington Dam in 2017, I resolved that we would do it again. Only 45 minutes from home, in a peaceful bush setting, you could be kilometres from anywhere. But it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that we actually managed to do it again. And it didn't dissapoint. 

Within minutes our camp was set up and we had the kettle boiling for morning tea. Why had it taken us so long to come back! Being mid week there weren't many campers, and we were able to camp in the same spot as in 2017, which we had really lliked last time. 

After morning tea, we took a stroll from the camp along the edge of the dam before lunch. 

Located 30 kilometres west of Collie, Wellington Dam originally opened in 1933, one of the biggest public works projects of the Great Depression era. More than 100 workers living in tents built the dam. In recent years the dam has ceased to be a water source for homes due to rising salinity, and the dam is now a recreation area for boating, fishing, bushwalking and camping in designated areas. 

In November last year I wrote about the painting of the dam wall with a giant mural by Canberra born artist Guido Van Helton, though I am not sure I brought you the images of the completed work. Painted on the 367m x 34 metres wall face, over a surface area of 12,000 square metres, the mural is truly is amazing and reputed to be the largest mural painted by a single artist. 

After lunch we drove out to the highway to Allanson, and then along some of the Collie River Scenic Drive, stopping at the Kaniyang Wiilman suspension bridge over the river and walking some of the Wiilman Bilya walk trail.  The trail winds through jarrah, marri and yarri forests. When complete this 87 km trail will offer hikers a 5-day, 4-night experience that starts and finishes in Collie, circling Wellington Dam. 

The word Bilya means 'river' in the Noongar language. The concrete ends of the bridge displays artwork designed by local artist Natalie Veal, which highlights the connection between nature and culture of the region.

Of course some orchids and other wildflowers - clockwise from top left - Enamel orchid, one of the white spider orchids, Blue Lady orchid, rattle beak orchids and cowslip orchids. 

Clockwise from top left - native rose, flower head of the grass tree, one of the prickly climbing peas, one of the grevilleas and jarrah tree flowers. 

We only did a short walk, as it was now later in the afternoon and a bottle of wine and a quiet sit under the trees were calling us back at camp. 

The next day we set out to walk the 10 kilometre Sika walk trail from the Potters Gorge campground. We had combined part of this trail with another trail last time we camped here, but decided this time we would just do this trail. 

Conveniently it is a loop trail starting from the Potters Gorge campground, with the last part going past the dam kiosk then a short 1.5km walk back to Potters Gorge. It was generally a fairly easy walk but with some steep uphill and downhill sections. I was glad I had my walking poles - they make bush trails much better for me these days. Please ensure you wear sturdy bushwalking boots, a hat, sunscreen, preferably long sleeves, and carry food and water. The trails are fairly well marked with signposts to keep you on the right track. 

We planned to stop along the way to eat our lunch, but couldn't find a suitable spot to sit, so ended up at the tables at the kiosk, which unfortunately wasn't open the day we were there. 

We were at the end of the main spring flowering time but the hibbertia's (the yellow in this pic) and the blue orchids were amazing. 

This is the stunning blue scented sun orchid. I had never seen them in such numbers - they were everywhere. They have variations in colour from purple to mauve to blue, with multiple flowers on one stem, up to 1000mm tall. 

But not just blue orchids.... clockwise from top left....Rattlebeaks, cowslips, Forrest Mantis, one of the spider orchids, and enamel orchid. 

And of course other wildflowers.... an unusual pea flower on a long stem that I hadn't seen before, coneflower, hibbertia, one of the trigger plants,  Tassel flower, Clematis, one of the pink/orange climbing peas, I think one of the pink baronias, and in the centre is I think the honepot Dryandra. 
I really need to confirm identification for these plants. 

We had lunch at the tables outside the dam wall kiosk, and chatted with a couple who were on their way south from Perth. Then we wandered over to see the dam wall again, then walked the about 1.5km back to camp, arriving back at 2.30pm. We were glad of the cloudy cooler day for walking, and the shady parts of the trail, though it did get warm in the sun. 

A "28" parrot that visited out camp in the afternoon. 

After breakfast the next morning we went for another whort walk up the trail, then packed up and headed back home. Unfortunately our couple of days away were over. 

I hope you have enjoyed this little walk through the Wellington National Park with us.  There are other walks, picnic and camping areas. 

More information:

Sika trail, Wellington Dam

Kaniyang Wiilman bridge trail

Thank you so much for stopping by. Do you have a place close to home that you enjoy visiting for bush walking. Perhaps you might like to tell us about it in your comments. 

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.