Train Station Art

Warrnambool artists Fiona Clarke and Ken McKean works to feature at train stations

Warrnambool-based artists Fiona Clarke and Ken McKean have combined their artistic talents to help bring indigenous culture to regional Victorian train travellers.

The couple’s work will feature on the forecourts at five train stations on the Melbourne to Ballarat line upgrade. The first upgraded station to sport their winning design was opened at Rockbank, with more to follow at new station Cobblebank, Wendouree, Ballan and Bacchus Marsh by the end of the year.

With work also under way on the Warrnambool line upgrade, the husband and wife team now have Warrnambool in their sights.
“It would be great if we had the chance to bring our art home to Warrnambool,” Ms Clarke said.

The commission is the latest career coup for the Kirrae Whurrong artist whose design, Walkabout Wickets commemorating the 150th anniversaries of the first Aboriginal cricket teams of 1866 and 1868, has been worn around the world by both the men and women’s cricket teams. Recognised artists in their own right, Ms Clarke said it had been “fun” to collaborate with her husband on the rail project.

Each of the five Ballarat line stations will feature different artworks depicting changes in the land across the seven seasons of the Kulin Nations, the traditional custodians of the Ballarat line country. Ms Clarke said the Kulin calendar was based on environmental events such as plant flowering and animal behaviour, along with the stars and changing angles of the sun. The metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly is portrayed at Rockbank station.

The couple’s designs followed a call by Rail Projects Victoria last year for expressions of interest from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists to create works that explored Aboriginal themes and deliver “a creative legacy” for future generations. From scale models created on their kitchen table, the pairs’ designs are being permanently etched into the station forecourts using a process of stencils and concrete sandblasting.

The half-a-billion-dollar Ballarat line upgrade is part of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival program to upgrade Victoria’s regional lines, including $114 million for the Warrnambool line.