Many years ago, on the Western Front of World War I, the soil lay churned up and imprinted with the memory of combat. Nature intervened and, like an artist, scattered those fields with poppies turning battlefields into something beautiful.

In a similar way the City of Gold Coast’s (City) pump station, located next to Currumbin RSL on Duringan Street, was once a bland brick building with weeds growing from the gutters. Thanks to the City’s Water Walls project, which sees local artists enhance Water and Waste assets, the pump station has been transformed into a captivating work of art with a heartfelt meaning.

Located just a few meters away from the Currumbin RSL cenotaph, the entire pump station has been painted with red poppies featuring a pair of hands gently cradling some freshly selected flowers. These held blooms are a symbol of remembrance for those who lost their lives in war; red for people, purple for animals and white to represent peace.

Careful thought has gone into this ANZAC inspired artwork. The hands aren’t just any hands – they were modelled by local Veteran, Tony Hornby, Chairman and Senior Advocate of Currumbin RSL’s Veteran Support Centre. The Centre provides health, employment, education and social opportunities for veterans as well as advocacy services.

Kerry Shepherd, Community Relationships and Sustainability Manager at Currumbin RSL, liaised with the Water Walls curator, local company Art-Work, and the artist Mike Shankster (visit his Instagram page @mikeshankster) during the creation of this special piece. There were three other murals on assets around the Gold Coast delivered as part of 2019/20 Water Walls: the Chevron Island location (corner of Stanhill Drive and Mawarra Street) features an amazing eel, Runaway Bay (Morala Avenue) is covered with both butterflies and birds and the Paradise Point site (Falkinder Avenue) is a modern graphic design.

The aim of the Water Walls project is to combat graffiti and enhance the appearance of ordinary assets, building community pride while showcasing the talents and providing employment opportunities to local artists and creatives.

Thank you to the City, Art-Work Agency and the talented Mike Shankster who surpassed the brief. This piece captures the essence of what are fundamental RSL values, and ensures that those who sacrificed their lives will continue to be remembered, in an artistic and beautiful way at Currumbin.

Lest We Forget.

Blog by Carmen Mudie