Photographer’s colour instinct

Local photographer Daniel James Down is hoping to get a Gawler street art project off the ground to attract tourism and bolster local businesses. He has created a mock-up of well-known Gawlerite, Briant Mahoney, on the side of a Finniss Street building. PHOTO: Sara Gilligan

A LOCAL photographer is hoping to transform Gawler into a colourful canvas by putting the town on the popular street art map.

Evanston Gardens’ Daniel James Down hopes to wake up local buildings and streets via vibrant doses of colour and is calling on the community for feedback on potential locations and artwork ideas.

By creating the Facebook page ‘Gawler Street Art Community’, Mr Down has already received an overwhelming response to the creative idea.

“I’ve been getting some good feedback on what we should do and where we should do it – about 95 per cent has been positive,” he said.

“There is a certain demographic that feels any artwork should be historical and relating to Gawler.

“Some people may also consider it as graffiti, so first I want to change those people’s views on what street art is.”

Mr Down is hoping local and South Australian artists would be engaged to create outward-looking pieces that would attract tourism to town.

Eye-catching examples like local artist Whale Tale’s mural at Gawler’s Golden Fleece Hotel have also made the pages of a street art book printed by Mr Down.

“Walking around Gawler, I’ve been taking pictures of different walls and scouting out the area,” he said.

“I have found personally that the best spots are on Finniss Street like the carpark, Tony’s (Piccolo) building, and the café. So, my vision would be to have Finnis Street as a hub and to have a street art trail.

“I would love to get initially three different pieces straight up like maybe a mural on the carpark, a pair of wings, and then something on another building.

“I think it’s important to have some interactive art like the wings to entice people to take their own photographs and to use hashtags.”

After pitching the idea to Gawler councillor Nathan Shanks, the duo plan to share Mr Down’s vision with other elected members at the next council meeting.

“It’s a great idea, it has the potential to transform some sad plain walls into something else worth coming into Gawler for,” Cr Shanks said.

“In my opinion council has many functions that could assist with this, for example, by providing a canvas on a council asset, helping with needed development approvals and maybe even securing some grant funding to assist with the cost etc.

“Community input is the only thing that is important in getting this off the ground, the technicalities can come later. Producing an art piece that the town loves is so much easier when the community is brought along for the ride.”

Cr Shanks said new Gawler street art would be a “unique asset” for the town.

“With Gawler having some it would not only be a great asset for locals to benefit from but people coming into the town being met with some great colourful pieces would only entice more visitors,” he said.

“I have a motion going on the agenda for the February council meeting and I can’t wait for the discussions to come which will hopefully result in a majority vote in support of helping the growing interest into a local piece or pieces.”

“Creating engaging and colourful pieces is a no-brainer,” Mr Down added.

“We know it may be a bit of a slow process, but this will pay for itself in the long run by bringing people in.”

Sara Gilligan


Sara Gilligan completed a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Writing and Creative Communication at the University of South Australia in 2014. Sara grew up in the Adelaide Hills before moving to Waikerie in 2015 to pursue her journalism career at The Bunyip’s sister paper The River News. She transitioned to Renmark’s Murray Pioneer newspaper in 2017, where she enjoyed Riverland reporting, before becoming The Bunyip’s editor in November 2019. She enjoys covering local government and police/emergency services and is passionate about giving locals a voice on community issues.