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Introduction

Speech given by the Governor at the unveiling of the Heesco™ mural, in Yarram.

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First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathering, pay my respects to their Elders past and present and to any Elders with us, and thank Uncle Lloyd for his warm Welcome to Country.

I am delighted to be with you here in Yarram today. I am delighted to be somewhere with such an appreciation of great street art – the gold medallist of the 2020 Australian Best Street Art Trail Award. And somewhere where we know the enthusiasm for renowned Victorian street artist, Heesco™, matches our own admiration for his work.

In the course of last year, Tony and I commissioned the terrific mural that we are about to unveil, to recognise and thank the many frontline workers who had cared for Victorians throughout the devastating summer bushfires, and were working so hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it was not possible to include a representation of every organisation that had an impact in 2020, it was intended that the images of those on the mural would serve as a reminder of the ordinary people amongst us who, day in and day out, do extraordinary things, stepping up for others as and when they are needed.

We saw it as an opportunity as well, to support Victoria’s creative industries – so badly hit by lockdowns at the time.

We had the perfect ‘canvas’ at Government House, with hoarding that was being used towards the end of a ten-year roofing repair and conservation program.

One of the great pleasures last year, in the periods that Heesco™ was able to work onsite, was watching his creative force as he set about this project.

We were proud of the finished product, and later, of the beautiful photographs of it, by street art photographer @p1xels.

One of those photographs featured on our official Christmas card last year, and the mural remained in pride of place at the front of Government House throughout a range of ‘Thank You’ and other events that we held across recent months. It has been admired, photographed and ‘selfied’, (if that is a word!), many times over, never more so than when those depicted on it recently attended to view it!

In addition to commissioning this mural, we offered it to Heesco™ to keep or sell after the display period at Government House. Heesco™ suggested that the mural should instead be donated to The Friends of Heesco™ Town for installation here in Yarram, as part of the Heesco™ Town project.

We are so pleased that the mural is now in its permanent home here.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this innovative idea.  You can feel proud. Public art enhances the community. We hope that it brings pleasure to your residents and draws many visitors to enjoy the visual treat that you have enabled.

It will be our pleasure today to unveil Heesco™’s outstanding mural.