Unless you are from South Australia, it’s likely that you have never heard of Tumby Bay. It’s a small town on the Eyre Peninsula that is trying to put itself on the map – and the way they have chosen to do that is with the Tumby Bay street art.
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Located 600km from Adelaide on the eastern coast of Eyre Peninsula, Tumby Bay is the hub for the surrounding farming community, mostly focused around crops such as wheat and barley and raising sheep for wool and meat. Being a seaside town, there is also a small fishing industry based here too. Like much of rural Australia, it has seen a declining population and has around 1000 people now permanently calling the town home. As people move away, local businesses have closed and services have decreased.
While Tumby Bay is a great summer beach location, the township was slowly dying. It was looking for something more to attract visitors year round, and to entice passing vehicles to turn off the highway as they make their way to Port Lincoln. It needed something new to add to the things to do in Tumby Bay.
Tumby Bay Silo Art
As the first silo art in South Australia was completed in 2017, the Tumby Bay Progress Association decided that this could be just the thing to get those cars to turn in off the highway. They were able to receive some grant funding, and the community madly fundraised to get the idea off the ground. Viterra, the owners of the silos, approved the use of their giant blank canvas and Argentinian artist Martin Ron was commissioned. The project was scheduled to take place in March, 2018.
Painting silos was – and still is with only eight in all of South Australia – a relatively rare event, so Tumby Bay took advantage of that and turned it into a full festival, inviting more street artists to come and make their mark on blank walls all around the town. Community events were put on, and a whole weekend of fun and entertainment ensued, culminating with the opening of the amazing Tumby Bay silo art.
That street art throughout the town is a drawcard too. Passing motorists can’t help but notice the silos, but the street art draws them further into the town.
Colour Tumby Festival
The 2018 Colour Tumby Festival was such a success that it was soon turned into an annual event. In 2019, ten more street artists from all over the world came to Tumby Bay to add to the increasing number of colourful walls in the town. Not only did the artists do their own work, they collaborated with some of the local indigenous Barngarla people to produce some amazing murals.
In 2020 the Colour Tumby Festival sadly had to be postponed due to Covid-19, but again another great lineup of artists were all ready to make their mark on the town. With any luck they will be able to get there in 2021 – particularly for the international artists.
Where to Find the Tumby Bay Street Art
Tumby Bay is not all that big, so even a brief drive through the town will mean you pass some of the artworks. But if you are looking for a map which also gives all the artists, then the town has kindly made one up for you to download.
You can also find copies of the map in various locations around town. Look out for it at the viewing location for the silo art too.
Tumby Bay Street Art Gallery
I’m not going to include all of the artworks, I have to leave a few for you to discover for yourself when you visit, but here’s a taste of what you can expect in Tumby Bay.
Tumby Bay Eats
Once you have come into Tumby Bay to see the silos and the street art, why not stay for a meal or snack. French inspired L’Anse Tumby Café is particularly well acclaimed in the area. More than one person in Port Lincoln told me during our visit that they would do the 100km round trip just to eat there. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch, and I suggest checking the days and hours before you visit as right now they are subject to change to allow for the covid requirements.
We also grabbed a great lunch at the Tumby Bay Bakery. I would particularly recommend them if looking for vegetarian food (which I admittedly found quite scarce) because they made me up a huge salad roll, which, while it sounds quite basic, was possibly the best salad roll I’ve had in months. We may or may not have also taken home a delicious Boston Bun to have later with our coffee!
While we didn’t eat there this time, we did check out the menu at the Tumby Bay Hotel and if I was in town for dinner, this would be my choice. The restaurant is called The Red Roof, and it serves typical pub fare with some local seafood featuring too.
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Josie Kelsh is South Australian, born and bred. She has lived in the state for almost her whole life, just one short stint away as a teenager with her family. Travelling all over the world has shown her exactly how amazing South Australia is to live and travel in and she uses her passion to show it to you the way a local sees it.