News / Community

Giant mural set to brighten Merri Creek corner

The project is the realisation of a decade-long ambition for the building owner

Lisa Bolger outside her house with Mike Makatron in the background.

Mark Phillips
Friday, October 8, 2021

FOR more than a decade, Lisa Bolger has wanted to do something about the “large and ugly cream wall” on the northern facing side of her Brunswick East town house.

The long-awaited improvement has begun to take shape this week with an artist starting work on a giant mural over most of the wall, which overlooks the Merri Corner Community Garden.

The project follows a public vote and a Pozible campaign which raised more than $5000. The mural will be approximately eight metres by eight metres wide and visible from more than a hundred metres away to pedestrians and cyclists travelling along the Merri Creek Trail.

“I bought the town house 12 years ago and the community garden was starting at the same time, and I remember looking at this fairly large and ugly cream wall and thinking it would be nice to have a mural there one day,” Ms Bolger said.

The idea was pushed aside by other priorities until late last year when Ms Bolger and some of her neighbours decided to investigate options to have a mural painted on the wall.

This led them to the work of Collingwood-based artist Mike Makatron, whose colourful work adorns walls around Melbourne including a block of land across the road from Brunswick Town Hall in Sydney Road which was recently purchased by Moreland Council to be converted into a new parklet.

“We spoke to half a dozen artists but needed someone who was experienced at working at heights,” Ms Bolger said. “We needed someone who knew what they were doing as well as being a good artist.

“He came to have a look at the wall one Sunday and said he was interested and liked a challenge which it would be because of the tricky access with the community garden.

“He was a really good fit for what we were looking for … he’s just been absolutely amazing and he’s a lovely guy, very community minded and very affable.”

Mike Makatron at work this week.

Makatron’s brief was to showcase the indigenous flora and fauna of the Merri Creek area and he came back with three potential designs for the wall, which local residents and members of the community garden were invited to vote for their preference.

The winning design will feature a Sacred Kingfisher nestling among a range of local flora with its beak pointing towards the creek. An acknowledgement of the area’s Aboriginal heritage will also be painted onto the wall.

The entire project has been costed at $8000 and will take between five and nine days to complete depending on the weather, including hiring a cherry picker to gain access to the highest points of the three-storey town house.

A Pozible fundraising campaign exceeded its target of $5000 by the time it closed on October 3 with members of the community garden and Ms Bolger contributing the remainder of the cost.

She is looking forward to seeing the transformation of her wall after a dozen years of thinking about.

“It will be really visible from the bike path from a good couple of hundred metres away, and that’s where I think it will get the most viewing from,” she said. “It’s going to be great.”