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Colourful mural is based on a poem ‘relevant’ to Coledale

The mural on the Coledale Community Centre, and inset Brad Eastman. Inset picture: Billy Zammit

“COME always into country humbly,” says local poet Mark Tredinnick, “knowing it has meant the world – And means it still – to someone.”

This line comes from a poem written about the community and landscape of Coledale. It’s fitting advice from a poem that speaks to the long history of the area, and for Sydney-based artist Brad Eastman (Beastman), it was also a challenge to create a worthy artwork.

Coledale residents may have noticed some extra colour in their community recently thanks to Brad Eastman’s mural located on the Northcote Street side of the Coledale Community Centre.

The project was commissioned by Wollongong City Council and saw Brad Eastman create an artwork that responded to a poem titled ‘Coledale Sonnet Cycle’ by Mark Tredinnick.

“The poem is essentially about the landscape, which is quite unique. Hopefully the local community can feel like the mural belongs and is relevant to the area. I hope they enjoy it,” Brad Eastman said.

“A lot of my artwork is essentially based on places. They’re kind of abstract landscapes… I’ve tried to pull as many individual elements from the poem as I could and kind of abstractly include them in my artwork.”

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said that the project was a collaboration between Mr Eastman, Wollongong City Council and the South Coast Writers Centre whose office is located in the community centre.

“Like the poem that inspired it, the mural is influenced by our community’s recent history as a mining village and coastal town,” Cr Bradbery said.

“It also acknowledges that the land on which our residents call home today, was originally inhabited by the Dharawal people, who remain the traditional custodians.

“It’s a beautiful artwork with bright colours that catch the eye of people passing by. I know that this work has already been well received by the Coledale community and it is a welcome and colourful addition to our city’s collection of street artworks.”

South Coast Writers Centre Director Dr. Sarah Nicholson said that they were proud to be part of the production of this exceptional piece of public art.

“In January 2021 we commissioned two writers, Judi Morison and Mark Tredinnick to host public workshops, Writing Australian History, and Poetics of Place. It is from the outcome of these workshops, and then Mark’s exquisite poem, that Brad Eastman was able to create a mural which has transformed the Coledale Community Hall building,” Dr. Nicholson said.

The new artwork took four days to complete and was informed not only by Mark Tredinnick’s poem but also the community centre building and surrounding environment.

“Usually when I’m approaching a project, I’m always collaborating with the building itself or the place itself where I’m actually painting, rather than just place some random artwork onto the building,” Mr Eastman said.

“It’s more letting the building, the shape of the building and the features on the building dictate the actual composition of the artwork.

“I’m always pulling colours from everything I see around me in the actual space where the mural was located. All those things put together make it feel like it’s meant to belong on the building rather than look a bit out of place.”

Read more about the project by visiting the Coledale Community Hall Mural page.


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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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