Mirrabooka’s mural masterpiece

A State Member of Parliament is looking for the people depicted in a mural along Yirrigan Drive in Mirrabooka as plans to repair the ageing artwork get going.

Mural4.JPGThe mural was created in 1993 by Perth City Mission in conjunction with the Department for Communities, as a project for unemployed youth.

State MP for Mirrabooka Janine Freeman said that in time the mural could easily have started to deteriorate so it was crucial to act to save it now.

“It was really important that we maintain something that is a reflection of the community,” Ms Freeman said.

“Even in 1993 it reflected our diverse community.”

Ms Freeman said heritage did not just have to be something structural.

“It can be something that defines the area and for me this mural defines the area,” she said.

She said she wanted to find the people in the original mural because it would be really interesting to hear their side of Mirrabooka’s heritage story.

“There’s a real sense that people in the area don’t see that they have a heritage or a central identity, but I think we have a really great sense of identity around and that was one of diversity that was depicted then and is still current today,” she added.

Ms Freeman is still looking for the original people depicted in the mural though restoration work has already started.

One of the mural’s original artists, Steve Cross, said he had never had the opportunity to come back to touch it up.

“It’s unusual for a mural to last too well for so long, but I would love to know how the people in the mural related to it,” Cross said.

“Would they pull out of the driveway and their parents constantly remind them that that is them on the wall?”

The mural’s original assistant artist Mike Barker (known as ‘Shime’) said he was incredibly excited to be working on the wall once again.


Shime, and Steve Cross

“Most murals have a shelf life of about five or so years, so it’s great that this one has lasted so long,” Shime said.

“It is a bit worse for wear, but at least it has been given a second chance and can be re-imaged with a second generation of people involved.”

Shime said the concept for the updated mural was the same as the concept for the existing mural; to celebrate Australia’s and more specifically Mirrabooka’s migrant history and diverse culture.

City of Stirling Councillor for Mirrabooka David Boothman said with all the renewal that is going on and is planned for the suburb, he is glad to see a heritage project taking place alongside that.

“Because the mural was done so well and it featured so many people in the community, it is almost like a heritage project, because of the length of time and all that,” Cr Boothman, a former policeman and City of Stirling mayor said.

“I think its good to have these projects be kept and remind us of where we come from.”

Although the mural cracks a mention of the website of the State Heritage Office, the wall itself has been through some hard times, with the threat of possible demolition and part of the wall being damaged during the restoration attempt.

Cr Boothman said the main damage that was sustained was mainly just to the area that had to be rebuilt anyway.Mural1.JPG

“The Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre and Balga Senior High School are also involved in the restoration project,” Mr Boothman said.

Local business owner Ali Hussain said that he was a big fan of art and thought it was a great idea to preserve the mural.

“I never really noticed it much before,” Mr Hussain said.

“But now that I know about it and that it is over 20 years old, I think it’s pretty amazing and I definitely want to see it preserved.”

Mr Hussain said it would be a great idea to find the original people depicted in the mural to see how they had changed.

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