“Welcome to Sheffield. Population approximately 1100...”
.. So begins the new NARROWCASTERS audio tour, commissioned by the Kentish Council to guide visitors around the extraordinary Sheffield murals.
Up until the 1980s, Sheffield was a typical Tasmanian town facing the typical story of rural decline. When construction on the giant Mersey-Forth hydro electric development was complete, the workers moved on. Buildings became vacant. Shops closed down. But Sheffield refused to die.
The local community, inspired by the success of Chemainus, a small saw-milling town on Vancouver Island in Canada, embarked on a project to paint their district’s pioneering history on their walls.
The first mural they commissioned was of Gustav Weindorfer, a passionate mountaineer, naturalist and conservationist - the man primarily responsible for having the Lake St Clair-Cradle Mountain region declared a national park. This mural marked the beginning of a process which transformed a dying rural town into a thriving outdoor art gallery.
The Sheffield murals have since become inseparable from the people and the place. In the NARROWCASTERS’ audio tour, local characters share their vision, tell their stories and fill us in on the history of Sheffield. We hear from the town draper, the high school art teacher, a councillor, a retired mayor, a rabbit trapper, and members of the original mural committee set up to save their town, and who succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.
Click here to view excerpts from the "Story of the Sheffield Murals" Audio Tour