Despite drought and the COVID pandemic, all is well in Monto.

Story + Photos Mandy McKeesick

It seems as though anything that stands still in Monto (population 1200) will be taken to with a paintbrush. There are murals on silos, water towers, water tanks and caravans. There are murals in the main street and shop windows, and unauthorised murals under the old railway bridge painted in the dark of night to commemorate local legend Ken Gleadhill. There are galleries, an Art Deco hall, a sculpture walk and 9 painted cows. 

Mary Sharp, who has lived here for 40 years, is a member of Monto Magic, the local tourism body. “Art was never on our horizon. You’re talking about practical people here – farmers and timber workers. Nobody considered us arty-farty,” she says with a smile.

This story excerpt is from Issue #150

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sep 2023