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The view out the window of the Bluebird passenger train that once travelled Mount Gambier's old railway line is the inspiration behind a new large scale artwork at the city's freshly redeveloped rail lands precinct.
The towering 3m high x 9m long mural by local artist Diana Wiseman features bitterns, plovers and brolgas, which were once the names of individual carriages on the train that stopped operating in the 1990s.
Ms Wiseman, who fondly remembered taking the train to Adelaide with her two young sons, said the contemporary artwork was her own personal interpretation of the city's rail heritage.
"I started thinking about the history of the railway lands and certainly when I was a lot younger, I remember going on the Bluebird," she said.
"I decided to create it as if you were looking through windows at the birds in the landscape."
Ms Wiseman said the artwork had been an "interesting dilemma" because heritage restrictions prevented her painting directly onto the wall of the building.
Artist delighted with finished workThe huge project began on a small scale.
The design was created initially on printmaking plates, which were then sent to Sydney to be reproduced 10 times larger, then printed in Mount Gambier in seven individual panels.
Seeing it up on the wall for the first time on Tuesday, Ms Wiseman said she was delighted with the result.
"I'm very, very happy. As you can imagine, I was quite nervous about seeing it, but I'm just so glad that it looks like it's been painted and the brushstrokes are there."
It is the second piece of public art to be unveiled at the rail lands, with the first sculpture igniting debate and dividing opinions in the Blue Lake city.
But Ms Wiseman said art was always subjective, and hers was designed to be educational and interpretative.
"Whether you like it or dislike it, it's a talking point," she said.
"I just love art in public spaces. To me, it improves the vibrancy of the city and I think tourists love looking at it.
"If you're walking through a park like this, isn't it nice to just look at bright colourful art?"
Former derelict space unrecognisableThe city's rail lands precinct has become a public multi-purpose space and is now able to cater for thousands of people at community events, since officially opening late in 2015.
When rail operations ceased in the 1990s, the industrial area became derelict and its future became a source of community concern.
Gifted to council in 2004, it was years before the transformation of the old industrial site began, with the city council investing $2.3 million in the area.
Just two years ago the transformation began, which included 20,000 square metres of turf, 100 mature trees, a shared walking and bike path, ponds, an amphitheatre and an adventure playground.
As little as five years ago, council stipulated any plans for the space must include the railway easement in case of future railway activity, despite the unlikely notion of such an outcome.
However, this month work began on a new rail trail project that will see a shared cycling and walking path stretch across 3.1 kilometres of the derelict rail corridor, linking the city's east and west.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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