If you are visiting the Barossa Valley region of South Australia, take a small detour to the town of Kapunda, for a visual feast of murals all around the town.
Kapunda is under 80 kilometres north of Adelaide and has a population of around 3000. The town was established when copper was discovered in 1842 and the entrance to the town acknowledges this part of its history, with a 7 metre tall statue of a Cornish miner, known as Map Kernow.
The town has many historic buildings still standing and these days the town is surrounded with cereal crops of mainly wheat, barley and oats. It was in 2016 that members of the Kapunda Community Gallery Inc. and the Kapunda Business Alliance had the idea of using local artists to brighten up the town and lure more visitors to the area, by painting murals and creating a trail for visitors to follow.
The idea has been extremely successful with one mural in particular being recognised nationally with an award in the 2020 Australian Street Art Awards. That mural was painted by Danny Menzel and can be found on a wall on the corner of Lucas and Main Streets.
The hand painted mural is 100m2 and depicts buildings, businesses, prominent people and life in Kapunda from the mid-1800s through to the early 1900s.
The Main Street has a number of murals including another hand painted one on the Post Office, which depicts the original post office of 1910. The mural features heritage red post boxes and a postman on a bicycle who was a local post worker from recent times, but is depicted as a postman from the 1950s. There are also some Kapunda themed postage stamps featuring Map the miner and Sir Sidney Kidman, an outback pioneer and resident of Kapunda.
A tribute to Sir Sidney Kidman can be found next door to the post office and it shows his life from stockman to businessman and his eventual rise to be the biggest pastoral landholder, owning over 100 stations (107,000 square miles of land) and gaining the title of the ‘Cattle King’. He made Kapunda his home after marrying a local woman and gifted the town his home ‘Eringa’, to be used as a high school. During his life he also instigated the Kapunda horse sales which were the largest in the southern hemisphere. A bust of Sir Sidney Kidman can also be found here with the mural.
Further along the Main Street you can also find more recognition of the copper mining heritage with a statue of a miner taking a rest on a bench outside of the town’s art gallery.
More murals can be found in Case Street on the wall of the North Kapunda Hotel. Paintings have been created on the old windows and doors of the original stable building, which depict the sort of scenes that would have once existed there. Local artist Malcolm Craig designed and painted the imagined occupants and viewpoints.
In nearby Hill Street there is a very photo realistic mural depicting the Kapunda Celtic Music Festival, a festival that was held in the town, originating back to 1976 until the final event was held in 2017. This was once the longest running Celtic Festival in Australia with parades, dancing, music, traditional games and stalls and many people dressing up for the occasion, but unfortunately as attendance dwindled the annual festival finished.
On the corner of Mildred Street and Clare Road, behind the Cenotaph, you will find a military mural which pays tribute to various services and aspects of war efforts including WW1 Light Horsemen, Australian Women’s Land Army, and Iroquois helicopter, a nurse, soldier and HMAS Kapunda. This mural was created by Kapunda artist and Vietnam veteran Tony Hersey.
These are just some of the 13 pieces of art to find on the Kapunda Mural Trail which you can follow by downloading the Light Regional Council App ‘Discover the Light’ or you can pick up a brochure from the Kapunda Tourist Information Centre, located in the town library.
Enjoy discovering Kapunda!