Drone footage captures scale of Waimate mural

Bill Scott's towering homage to the history of his South Canterbury home town is complete.

Bill Scott
Bill Scott
The Waimate painter put a few finishing touches on the final panel of his four-part monochromatic sepia-toned mural on the 1934 concrete grain silos at Transport Waimate's Queen St yard on Monday.

New Zealand's first woman registered as a doctor, Margaret Cruickshank, now stands alongside paintings of four others who were integral to the town's identity.

While Dr Cruickshank was born in Palmerston, she worked in Waimate from 1897 until she fell victim to the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Mr Scott began the project in March at the request of Transport Waimate owner Barry Sadler. He began by painting a representation of the 1854 meeting of local Maori, led by Te Huruhuru, with the area's first European settler, Michael Studholme on the hand-built 30m-tall silos that dominate the skyline of the town of about 2700.

He then re-created a scene between New Zealand's 29th prime minister, Waimate-born Norman Kirk, and a child at Waitangi, which spans two silos.

Waimate artist Bill Scott works on murals on grain silos at Transport Waimate's Queens St yard. The murals are of Waimate-born World War 2 soldier Eric Batchelor and New Zealand's first woman to be registered as a doctor, Margaret Cruickshank, who practis
Waimate artist Bill Scott works on murals on grain silos at Transport Waimate's Queens St yard. The murals are of Waimate-born World War 2 soldier Eric Batchelor and New Zealand's first woman to be registered as a doctor, Margaret Cruickshank, who practised in the town. Photo: Craig Baxter

At the end of April he painted hometown hero World War 2 soldier Eric Batchelor, who was twice awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for conspicuous bravery when he served in Italy.

Mr Batchelor died in Waimate in 2010 after becoming a successful businessman after the war. Members of his family still live in the town.

The project, the largest-scale painting Mr Scott has taken on, was ''really satisfying'', the artist said.


He said he felt a greater connection with the history of his home town now and ''loved'' the appreciation and feedback from residents as the mural progressed.

''They love it,'' Mr Scott said. ''I've been quite ... surprised. We always imagined that they would gain attention, obviously. But ... it's the sort of bringing together, and the solidarity it has created. People have just really embraced it and been really proud of these people - and they should be. They're wonderful people, and very giving, and 'achievers'. They've really done something significant and to represent them like this, it's incredible the pride that people have taken in it.

''And, of course, that's really satisfying for me.''

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz


 

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