Public Art

The Nest by David Bell and Gary Tippett. Image by Shane Griffiths.

The City of Darebin is home to an extensive public art collection enhancing the urban landscape. If you would like to find out more, download the Darebin Public Art Discovery Map. Scroll over the numbers to find out more!

Publi art map cover


These temporary works have been chosen in line with three City of Darebin Master Plans:

‘Outside Living’ by James Voller

Taste cover story French New Wave: Gontran Cherrier. French baker Gontran Cherrier in his new Smith St cafe/boulongerie. Picture- Nicole Cleary

‘Outside Living’ by James Voller is a photographic installation that places images of homes into public spaces. It asks questions about where people are living in Darebin and who they are. This project involves connecting with the local community and photographing living rooms which will then be superimposed on a public site in reservoir.

Where: Reservoir Community and Learning Centre, 23 Edwardes Street, Reservoir.


‘Here’ by Kirrily Anderson


‘Here’ by Kittily Anderson will celebrate in the form of paste-up portraits a cross-section of three-four community participants who regularly use the sporting facilities at Donath Dole Reserve. This project includes research and connecting with potential subjects from the local sporting community. Photographs will be illustrated and displayed on a wall at Donath Dole Reserve.

Where: Donath Central Pavilion, Harmer Street, Reservoir


‘Urban Abstration’ by Matthew De Mosier

Taste cover story French New Wave: Gontran Cherrier. French baker Gontran Cherrier in his new Smith St cafe/boulongerie. Picture- Nicole Cleary

‘Urban Abstraction’ by Matthew De Mosier is a large scale abstract installation designed to transcend its unassuming origin. At JUMP Junction in Preston, the familiar Zebra crossing will be distorted, abstracted and repeated, turning the footpath into a giant canvas that reclaims the area for pedestrians and invites people to stop, explore and reconsider.

Where: Intersection of Raglan Street and High Street, Preston


Selected Public Art pieces:

‘Call and Response’ by Pierre Proske

In early 2015 a new public artwork was commissioned for Westgarth under Darebin City Council’s Public Art Strategy 2006-2015.

‘Call and Response’ by Pierre Proske is a solar-powered sound and light installation inspired by the dynamics of bird calls, in particular the call of the bell bird prevalent along Darebin’s creeks. The work is a contemporary, innovative public artwork that employs sustainable technologies, engages with the local environment and celebrates this gateway to the municipality of Darebin.

The installation of this work in seventeen trees along High Street is scheduled to commence in late November, and will be a staged process. Below you will find an overview of the work, the community engagement process and details about the installation.


The Work

The artwork is a solar powered light installation inspired by the dynamics of bird calls, in particular the call of the bell bird, prevalent along Darebin’s creeks. The work employs lighting strips suspended from seventeen trees lining High Street (between Walker Street and Westgarth Street), designed to enhance the existing forms of the trees and provide a welcoming gateway to the municipality. Each lit tree also holds audio speakers, which—together with the lights—play out a complex choreography of audio-visual calls and responses. Triggered by audio samples of the bell bird, lights in the trees illuminate synchronously. The particular duration, patterns and fading of the lights is determined by the timbre and character of the bird call, resulting in a dynamic light experience driven by naturally ambient sounds.

The work is a contemporary, innovative public artwork that employs sustainable technologies, engages with the local environment and celebrates this gateway to the municipality of Darebin.

The Artist

Pierre Proske is an internationally recognised electronic media artist, specialising in interactive installations that explore the intersections of technology and nature. Alongside electronic art projects Pierre works as a sound designer and musician, and has exhibited and performed in Australia, Sweden, Canada, Iceland, Brazil, Japan, Austria and the Netherlands.

For ‘Call and Response’, Pierre has teamed up with Jason Bond from EnviroGroup to provide technical supervision, installation, maintenance and quality assurance. EnviroGroup is a specialist provider of renewable energy products and systems, and a leading authority in sustainable technology, with a team of expert engineers and installers who deliver projects Australia-wide.

When and Where

The work will be installed in seventeen trees lining High Street, between Walker Street and Westgarth Street. Installation is scheduled to commence on 23 November, and will be a staged process.

Stage 1: November-December: Installation of lights in all 17 trees. Lights in the trees on both sides of High Street, between Westgarth Street and Cunningham Street, will be lit by mid-December.

Stage 2: February: Installation of custom solar poles. Lights in all trees will be lit, extending to Walker Street. A community launch will be held once installation is complete, providing residents and traders with an opportunity to find out more about the work and hear from the artist.

At present, lights are installed in several of the trees lining High Street, as part of a previous Council-funded, community driven project to invigorate the precinct at night. The existing lights have been very successful, and this project replaces them with a long-term, sustainable, innovative work that builds on this success. During installation, the existing lights will be removed, but kept and re-used elsewhere in the municipality.

The health and structure of the existing trees has been assessed by a qualified arborist. A risk assessment has also been completed to ensure that the trees (and tree root zone) are protected during the installation process. The lights will be installed by a qualified arborist to ensure the integrity and health of the existing trees is retained.

Vic Roads has approved all aspects of the project, and no interruption to road traffic is expected during installation.

The sound associated with this work is ambient, and both sound and light levels are fully adjustable. The work runs off solar power, and is expected to operate for approximately four hours per evening in winter and six hours per evening in summer, or as light levels permit.


In 1996 Darebin City Council embarked on one of the most ambitious public art programs outside a central business district in Australia and since then has earned an impressive reputation for enhancing its urban landscape with innovative public art projects.

Darebin Council’s public art strategy, Beyond FIDO: Darebin City Council Public Art Strategy 2006 – 2015 outlines two phases for the commissioning of public artworks. The first phase focused on installing major art works in each of Darebin’s precincts, while the second phase aims to address public art for gateways and art within public open spaces. We are currently in the second phase of Darebin’s public art strategy, and this project forms part of Council’s commitment to improving the gateways of the municipality.

Community Engagement

In December 2014 a community workshop was held to generate key themes and principles that would inform the commission of a gateway work for Westgarth. During this workshop and via online surveys, community respondents were asked a series of questions, including:

What do you think a Gateway could be? And,

What does the word welcoming or greeting mean to you?

From the community responses, a number of themes emerged, expressing the community’s desire for an artwork that was:

  • Distinctive
  • Welcoming and calming
  • Not an arch
  • Illuminated at night
  • Wild and inviting
  • Eye-catching
  • Sustainable
  • Bold and strong
  • A new experience

Based on these community-generated themes, the Council created a brief for artists and made a public call for submissions.

After assessing all submissions, the Council selected a shortlist of four works, which were presented to a community Public Art Reference Group and Expert Panel in March 2015. The Public Art Reference Group and Expert Panel selected Pierre Proske’s sound and light installation ‘Call and Response’ for commission.

Artist’s Impression




“Three Follies”
by Bush Projects, 2014

“Three Follies” reconnects residents to the isolated island oasis of Ray Bramham Gardens by providing an interactive and playable work which honours the botanical theme of the park while subtly referencing the site’s industrial history. The artwork is a series of sunken, suburban garden follies, located at three key points within the space. A sunken arch appears as an architectural ruin suggestive of an old kiln, a brick hedge mimics the shape of a parterre garden and a stage forms a raised viewing platform to admire the pond.

Location: Ray Bramham Gardens


St Georges Road Koori Mural
By Megan Evans, Les Griggs, Ian Johnson, Eleain Trott, Ray Thomas and Millie Yarran


This iconic Mural suffered significant weather damage and material deterioration over the past three decades of being exposed to the elements but has recently been lovingly restored. The mural was designed by Megan Evans in consultation with a committee from the Aborigines Advancement League consisting of the late Lin Onus, the late Molly Dyer, the late Ron Johnson, the late Elizabeth Hoffman and was painted by renowned Aboriginal artists Ray Thomas, Ian Johnson, Millie Yarram, Les Griggs, Elaine Trott and Megan Evans with the help of many other volunteers.

Location: St Georges Road, Thornbury

Watch the video about the Koori Mural restoration:

Koori Mural TOM from Ged Hart on Vimeo.


The Nest
By David Bell and Gary Tippett.


The symbolic egg form at the heart of this design echoes the hope for recovery and new life, and for the rebirth of the land. The piece also references the conservation role of the park and in particular the role this park plays for the many birds that live and nest within.

Location: Darebin Parklands, Fairfield

The Connection
By Michael Snape.


The Connection depicts many people coming together in an animated, alive way, the separate components becoming one. It refers to the meaningful links between different groups in the community and the connections which contribute to harmony in Darebin.

Location: Preston Civic Forecourt, High Street, Preston

By Adrian Mauriks.


The work relates to the themes the “Present” and “Future” with an emphasis on the natural environment. The colour and the reclining form, which appears embryonic, bring to mind birth and new beginnings and the bud, the flowering of life.

Location: Bundoora Park entrance, Bundoora

Well Place Preston
By Zabelski Han.

Well Place, Preston

The horse in this piece refers to the working animals that were part of Preston’s industrial history. The human, in offering the horse water, is providing it with nourishment. There is a connection that symbolises the inter-dependent relationship between them.

Location: Preston Library, Preston

Fairfield Industrial Dog Object (FIDO)
By Alistair Knox, Ian Sinclair, Jacki Staude and David Davies.


Through the use of sensors and digital controls, FIDO talks to passers by, wags its tail, wiggles its ears and lights up at night.

The materials used, the form and the interactive nature of this monumental work were chosen specifically to respond to the friendliness and vitality of Fairfield Village and enhance the sense of community for this dog-loving precinct.

Location: Fairfield

Reconciliation Fountain
By Glenn Romanis.


The fountain tells how water came back to the land after a long drought by making the frog that had swallowed all of the water laugh.

Location: Thornbury

Reg Parker Sculpture
By Reg Parker.

The sculpture is an example of a classic formalist work by one of the early practitioners of the style in Australia. It is probably the earliest abstract sculpture in a public place in the northern region of Melbourne. The work is also socially significant as an example of government-funded visual arts policy of the Whitlam era, which had the expressed intention of placing contemporary Australian art in communities which were overlooked in the past.

Location: Preston Library, Preston

High Street, Westgarth
By Enver Camdal, Helen Bodycomb and Chris Rack.


The artwork includes stainless steel broken insect wing segments, skeletal animal sections turned into bike racks, dog anchors, dragonfly wings on the power poles, glass mosaic sunk into the pavement and vibrant colours stretching along the strip.

Location: High Street, Northcote

The Anzac Memorial
by Down Street Studios and Cicada Blue Landscape Design 2002

Veterans Walk Anzac Memorial 72

All Nations Park is a joint project between The City of Darebin and local RSL clubs compromising of several public art works, the two illustrated here are:

Anzac Memorial 2002
The Bowing Soldier, a sculptural stainless steel soldier with bowing head and cast bronze slouch hat will form the centre of the veterans walk and suggests remembrance of those who have fallen in war, in particular the role of service men and women in WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam

Wing Tip Flag Pole 2002
A flood lit Stainless steel wing tip clad to flagpole, makes reference to the RAAF with design details from Australian Aircraft

Location: All Nations Park, Northcote


In 1996 Darebin City Council embarked on one of the most ambitious public art programs in Australia outside a central business district. After nearly two decades the City of Darebin has earned an impressive reputation for enhancing its urban landscape with innovative public art projects.  To download the Public Art Strategy, follow this link: Beyond FIDO Darebin City Council Public Art Strategy. This strategy is currently under review.

Further Information:

Phone: (03) 8470 8888

To view Beyond Fido, the Darebin Public Art Strategy, see the Arts Policies and Strategies page in Creative Resources.