Published on 12 January 2023
New mural for an old town
A bold new mural on the Reynella Neighbourhood Centre enhances Old Reynella’s reputation as a township with artistic flair.
Completed in December, the mural by Adelaide artists Thomas Readett and Seb Humphreys projects light onto the current vitality and rich history of the town.
It also pays tribute to the building’s own history, opened in 1954 as the Reynella Memorial Hall for community meetings, dances and even the latest cinematic features from around the world (the hall was equipped with a film projector box).
The mural is the largest project artists Readett and Humphreys have collaborated on to date. They describe the work as a “complex narrative of the past where stories are overlapped and contained within a wider picture of the landscape and history of the area”.
The narrative tantalises with a quiz-like quality: peaches represent a local street; the name of the first film shown at the hall is inscribed on a film projector (hint: see the mural in person or view the answer below); and textual clues are hidden in the black and white, sepia and colour images.
“I love the way the artists have included subtle inclusions of dates, activities and other hints that cannot be seen from the road,” says Cathie Vincent, Community Development Officer at the City of Onkaparinga.
“People will enjoy getting up close and personal with the mural to explore and find different narrative features.
“It will draw people into the neighbourhood centre and into Old Reynella itself.”
Heather Merritt, chair of the neighbourhood centre’s board of management, agrees.
“Even some long-term residents are surprised we are here. Now we have this great mural, we hope they’ll take a closer look and then step inside and see all the amazing things the centre offers,” she said.
“We couldn’t be happier with the mural. It’s not just a history book but it breathes life into who we are now and what a rich community life we have.”
Cathie Vincent says early responses to the completed mural have been very positive.
“People were speaking to the artists while they were painting and making enthusiastic comments to volunteers of the centre,” she said.
The mural complements the paintings already completed through the Old Reynella Murals Project – Tom Readett’s historic locomotives on the Model Railroad Association building, and Adam Poole and Corey Adami’s vivid images on the bus driver amenities building and retaining walls at the Reynella bus station.
Previous streetscape work in Old Reynella has focussed on the northern end of Old South Road and on an art trail in adjacent Corn Street featuring sculptures and Stobie pole paintings and mosaics.
The Reynella Neighbourhood Centre runs programs and short courses, hosts special events, and offers services such as nutritious frozen meals, book and produce exchanges, recycling and community information. Rooms in the centre can be hired for events, parties and celebrations. A justice of the peace attends the centre on Mondays from 1pm to 3.30pm (no appointment needed).
The centre is located at 164-170 Old South Road in Old Reynella. To contact the centre, phone 08 8322 3591 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 4pm, Friday 9am to 12.30pm) or email email@example.com.
ANSWER: The first film shown at the Reynella Memorial Hall was the 1953 American western ‘Shane’ directed by George Stevens and starring Alan Ladd and Jean Arthur.