Broken Hill’s award-winning artist Jodi Daley completes murals honouring Milparinka’s history – ABC News

Milparinka may only have one pub, but its rich history of Indigenous life, gold mining, and cameleers is now celebrated in a mural that took outback artist Jodi Daley seven years to complete.

The artwork, now on display at the Milparinka Albert Goldfields Mining Heritage Precinct, celebrates the area’s history through to today’s pastoral era.

The former Outback Art Prize winner and Archibald finalist said it took seven years to complete the murals.

The mural pays tribute to Milparinka’s rich and varied history from First Nation’s people to present day.(Supplied: Jodi Daley)

The precinct received a small grant to fund the project as part of the New South Wales Government’s $5 million Far West attraction project.

Art honours those who called Corner Country home

Daley worked closely with Milparinka Heritage and Tourism Association president Ruth Sandow to use images of real people who lived on the land as inspiration for the piece.

Artist Jodi Daley took inspiration from original photos of the early miners who worked and lived on the land.(Supplied: Ruth Sandow)

“But also, the beauty of that and the reasons why everyone was going out there and the history that we find when we look back.”

Swaggies walked with nothing but a bed roll on their back and a billy tin for hot tea.(Supplied: Jodi Daley)

A smaller mural inspired by an old photo of the early settlers was featured on the outside wall of the precinct.

Ms Sandow said Daley’s work delivered the precinct’s vision of showcasing the timeline of human involvement in the landscape.

“Jodi has deep roots in this country, and I think she was the perfect choice to do the mural for us,” Ms Sandow said.

The mural includes the families of pastoralists who work on the land today.(Supplied: Jodi Daley)

‘A perfect historic timeline’

Some of the artist’s understanding of Milparinka’s history came from her own family ties to the area.

“I’ve really connected to the place and the wider area.”

She said, while the artwork focused on the area’s Indigenous history, it reminded viewers of the often forgotten story of the Afghan cameleers’ involvement in helping build and connect regional Australia.

Early settlers used camels to help build and connect regional Australia.(Supplied: Ruth Sandow)

Broken Hill was famous for its silver, lead and zinc deposits, but the region’s rich mining history extended much further into the Far West.

The Albert Goldfields Region was a gold mining hub in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Hundreds of Chinese and European miners endured extreme food and water shortages from working and living so remotely.

New visitors discovering Far West

The main mural spanning 14 metres long and nearly 2 metres high is currently on display inside the precinct, but will eventually be installed on the outside of the building.

Ms Sandow said the image would be highly visible from the road coming into Milparinka.

The murals are currently on display inside the Milparinka Heritage Precinct but will soon be mounted to the outside of the building.(Supplied: Jodi Daley)

“The storyline will wrap around the long and short side of the shed,” Ms Sandow said.

Ms Sandow said more people had visited the area since COVID-19 put a halt to international travel.

“There has been a lot of visitation from people who may not ever have come out this way before but are discovering it’s a wonderful, accessible part of Australia,” she said.

Daley said she was excited for the mural to have its own impact on visitors and the local community.