Australia: Outback and Bush Popular Art

Popular art in the Outback, a glance at Australian humor in commercial ads and more.
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Australia's got talent! When driving in rural areas, we keep on the lookout for the next entrance to a station or property, hoping to spot a new example of this popular art which acts as a landmark as well as a mailbox. Often built with odds and ends, they can be seen throughout the country. Here are presented an airplane in South Australia, with a dog in Western Australia, a cow in Tasmania and a bulldozer in New South Wales.
This is a another expression of popular art which we found in the south of Western Australia. While the pupils were out on holidays, the schoolyard remained peopled with... tiny children-scarecrows!
Tin cans can turn into animals in Tasmania!
Trees are another favorite subject of popular art in Australia. Individual productions like this "tool tree" (bottom left) encountered in Corner Country are rare. Most often than not, popular art is the result of a collective effort such as the "shoe tree" and the "thong tree" of Western Australia -- thongs being the Australian name for flip-flops.
Such trees do not always have a specific motif and can be garnished with whatever comes to hand: Christmas ornaments as on the left hand side photo taken in South Australia, or an old bike from the Nullarbor, WA.
Here, these Western Australian gates garnished with underwear and shoes are the result of free initiatives. But someone in the north of Tasmania has gone one step further: next to this safety-rail decorated with stuffed animals sits a bucket providing pieces of wire for anyone wishing to add in a new contribution. Here, teddy bears, stuffed dogs or sitting ducks are warmly welcomed!
Even more unusual, the public can also be invited to contribute to a collective art piece dedicated to more solemn themes such as our dear lost ones, as here between Karijini and Tom Price, in WA.
Legerwood Memorial Trees, NE Tasmania. In 1918, nine trees were planted here to honor the servicemen from Ringarooma area who were killed during WWI. By the turn of the new millenium, these trees, now large but old and diseased, had to be cut down for safety reasons. So as not to lose its memorial, the town came up with the wonderful idea of turning their stumps into sculptures in the effigy of each of the nine soldiers. Depicted here in the foreground is a soldier's life in the trenches through several scenes, completed with the figure of his fiancee waiting for his return. The name of the talented chainsaw carver is Eddie Freeman from Ross.
In the area of Cue, WA, northeast of Perth. What a smart idea to recycle these 200-liter drums into a watering system for the town's plants and gardens! The other "bright" move was to have the town's primary school children decorate these drums with vivid colors as part of the town's campaign promoting the need to conserve water.


We found this "ad" promoting a wireless connection to Christ posted in front of the pretty St. George's church in Geraldton, WA. That was back in 2006, so who knows which new technology it claims these days: high speed wireless with unlimited download?? If you ever go there, check it out and let us know! It is located at Bluff Point, next to the lighthouse keeper's cottage, but don't look for the lighthouse there, for it now guards Moore Point.
"LÂMB. A fragrance for women". Contrary to a first impression, this is not a campaign promoting a famous French perfume but... Australian lamb meat! Isn't this ad as savory as creative and humorous?
One more example of how Australian great sense of humor is applied to advertising, this campaign was plastered in Sydney's metro hallways. Teenagers taking the city public transport to go to school may have -- temporarily -- escaped their mothers but certainly not the metro closed circuit television surveillance system!
Wow. they seem to need permits for everything in Australia, don't they? What, they even have licences for backseat driving, you must be joking!