MURAL GONE: Rockhampton Regional Council spent $10,000 to have this mural painted in Quay Lane which has now been painted over.
MURAL GONE: Rockhampton Regional Council spent $10,000 to have this mural painted in Quay Lane which has now been painted over.

Strelow reveals all on $10,000 CBD mural controversy

SEEKING to defuse community uproar over a $10,000 ratepayer funded mural being painted over by the owner of the Criterion Hotel, Rockhampton region mayor Margaret Strelow tried to put the incident into context.

Cr Strelow said in 2015, council engaged then-Melbourne-based street artist Lucas Grogan to paint the mural tribute to Tropical Cyclone Marcia on the back of the Criterion Hotel in Quay lane to “get the ball rolling on what was supposed to be a laneway full of street art”.

COMMISSIONED MURAL: Internationally renowned artist Lucas Grogan painted his last signature mural in Quay Lane, Rockhampton in 2015 before leaving to live and work in Europe.
COMMISSIONED MURAL: Internationally renowned artist Lucas Grogan painted his last signature mural in Quay Lane, Rockhampton in 2015 before leaving to live and work in Europe.

“Lucas worked with some of the locals to show them his techniques. We were hoping that we would see local street artists take over from there,” Cr Strelow said.

“I don’t believe there was any formal arrangement with the property owner and there normally wouldn’t be for street art – we simply relied on the owner’s goodwill and public spirit.”

Mayor Margaret Strelow overlooks the foundations work undergoing at the newly named Rockhampton Museum of Art site.
Mayor Margaret Strelow overlooks the foundations work undergoing at the newly named Rockhampton Museum of Art site.

It was painted over in mysterious circumstances in October, angering residents who accused it as a waste of rate payer’s funds.

The mayor said it was disappointing that it was painted over, especially given that the artist has now progressed his career considerably and was being shown in galleries.

A mural that was painted in Quay Lane behind the Criterion hotel has been painted over.
A mural that was painted in Quay Lane behind the Criterion hotel has been painted over.

“One of Lucas‘ murals in Fitzroy in Melbourne is one of the most photographed pieces of street art in Australia. But that doesn’t get away from the fact that this mural was always a piece of street art. Street Art has a limited life,” she said.

“They are an end in themselves. Lucas’s work was very much about a moment in time and encouraging other street artists to display their skills informally.”

Earlier this month, The Morning Bulletin readers were asked whether was RRC wrong to pay $10,000 for a mural to be painted on a private building and 88 per cent said yes. Cr Strelow said RCC had recently purchased some pieces of public art she hoped would last for a long time.

A mural under Rockhampton's Fitzroy Bridge
A mural under Rockhampton's Fitzroy Bridge

“These pieces of public art (such as the sculptures on the riverbank and the mural that was painted under the old Bridge) have a different purpose,” she said.

A mural under Rockhampton's Fitzroy Bridge
A mural under Rockhampton's Fitzroy Bridge