A major tourist attraction — now damaged and vandalised — will be restored to its former glory. Hundreds of people joined the fight for Banyule Council to repair artists’ signs along a popular track for future generations to enjoy.
One of the damaged signs on the Heidelberg School Artists Trail.
One of Banyule’s major tourist attractions — now damaged and vandalised — will be restored to its former glory.
The 40km Heidelberg School Artists Trail documents impressionist Heidelberg School artworks, often in the locations where they were painted, but many of the signs have been either destroyed or covered in graffiti.
Heidelberg Leader reported in November 2017 Banyule Council had no plans to restore the signs, deeming it too expensive.
But a community effort, led by Eastern Metropolitan Labor MP Sonja Terpstra, who started an online petition to restore the signs, collecting 1002 signatures on change.org and 140 in hard copy at various cafes, has brought the council on-board.
Cyclists travel along the Heidelberg School Artists Trail passing Arthur Streeton’s “Still Glides the Stream and Shall Forever Glide, 1890”.
Banyule Mayor Wayne Phillips said the council had committed to rejuvenating the trail, putting aside $20,000 to preserve Banyule’s rich artistic history, with 19 of the 57 signs to be repaired.
Ms Terpstra said the council’s decision was a fantastic win for the community.
“The heritage and artistic value of this trail is invaluable; it attracts many tourists and is studied by students,” she said.
Sonja Terpstra petitioned for the Heidelberg Artists Trail to be restored after council wanted to remove it. Picture: Ellen Smith
“To be able to stand in the very spot where some of these works were actually created is amazing as it transports you back to a more rural and historic Heidelberg.”
Artworks reproduced on the signs include pieces by 1800s artists Arthur Streeton, June Price and Walter Withers.
Petitioners on change.org applauded the result. Janet Cameron said the news made her day.
“There is still hope alive in Banyule,” Ms Cameron said.
Justine Bradford, the great granddaughter of Walter Withers, said:
“Keeping the art of Heidelberg artists alive is very important to our family and many, many others.”
All of the signs have been removed for refurbishment but the trail will still be accessible while the restoration work — expected to be completed before the end of June — is ongoing.