Northam’s iconic flour mill the perfect canvas for Amok Island

Shannon VerhagenCountryman
Amok Island paints a mural on the Northam Flour Mill.
Camera IconAmok Island paints a mural on the Northam Flour Mill. Credit: Chad Peacock

An iconic flour mill in the heart of Northam is getting a facelift, becoming the canvas for a larger-than-life mural this week.

Standing proud in the Avon Valley town since 1867, the old Northam Flour Mill has become the gateway to Northam, built just off the bank of the Avon River.

Providing employment and generating Northam’s first electricity, it has symbolised the importance of agriculture and wheat to the town.

It has gone through several changes over the past 140 years, but never one so colourful.

Amok Island paints a mural on the Northam Flour Mill.
Camera IconAmok Island paints a mural on the Northam Flour Mill. Credit: Chad Peacock

This week it’s beige aesthetic will be superseded by Perth-based mural artist Amok Island’s vision, inspired by the river running by it and the white swans introduced to the region in the early 1900s by Mayor Oscar Bernard after being brought over by British colonists 30 years prior.

It is now the only location in the State where the birds survive and breed naturally.

Amok Island paints a mural on the Northam Flour Mill.
Camera IconAmok Island paints a mural on the Northam Flour Mill. Credit: Chad Peacock

“It is rare to be able to paint an artwork on such a beautiful old historic building, and I think these types of canvases often combine really well with my more modern minimalistic style,” Amok Island said.

“In my research I found that the river right next to the mill is a spot often visited by the white swan and is used as a nesting ground, so I am excited to start painting and hopefully see some swans fly by whilst working on the mural.”

The artwork — which is a joint project between FORM, CBH Group, MAURI and the Shire — will complement the 38m geometric design painted across eight CBH Group wheat silos by artists Hense and Phlegm, for FORM’s PUBLIC Silo Trail project in 2015.

With the town in a period of change from an agricultural and transport hub to a tourism destination and place to call home, Shire of Northam president Chris Antonio was pleased with the project.

Amok Island paints a mural on the Northam Flour Mill.
Camera IconAmok Island paints a mural on the Northam Flour Mill. Credit: Chad Peacock

“This mural will not only compliment the tourist-attracting murals at the CBH Avon site, but also provide great views, and help to reinvigorate this part of Northam town,” he said.

MAURI Northam and Malaga site leader David Davies was proud to be part of the initiative.

Amok Island paints a mural on the Northam Flour Mill.
Camera IconAmok Island paints a mural on the Northam Flour Mill. Credit: Chad Peacock

“It will be a focal point for Northam, attracting visitors to our fantastic town to showcase what this region has to offer,” he said.

“The mill has always played a major role in Northam and we are delighted to be a part of this vibrant community.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails