Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : April 6, 2016 Edition Contents THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6, 2016 - PAGE 9
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Church mural approved from on high
THE Bishop of Gippsland has given it
And soon local residents will give their
verdict on the finished mural on the side
of Cowes’ St Philip’s Church hall, opposite
Coles supermarket on Church Street.
Since mid-March local artist Paul Wood-
ford has been working on the 4 metre high
mural, which runs the length of the hall.
The 88-year-old says after 31 litres of
paint and countless paintbrushes, the
painting is expected to be finished after
roughly 10 weeks, in May.
But, the St Philip’s parishioner says,
that’s after a year in the planning.
“About a year ago the church was look-
ing to do something with this wall, to put
a mural on it and a number of people put
forward ideas,” he says.
“It’s part of an overall plan to beautify
Cowes and make the place more interest-
Paul says his concept was finally cho-
sen, after being approved by the Bishop of
Paul’s mural takes advantage of the but-
tresses, jutting out of the hall wall, to form
a series of seven individual paintings, in
the trompe-l’oeil style, showing “island ac-
“All the scenes are not real, but imagi-
nary, and pick up items around the island.”
The first of those seven depicts Phillip
Island’s early pioneer Georgiana McHaffie
who, with her husband, first settled Phillip
Island in 1842.
“Georgiana went to Melbourne to raise
money to build St Philip’s Church about
150 years ago,” Paul says, adding that his
canvas, the church hall, was built around
“So using an old photo of her, I’ve placed
her in a scene that draws the eye to the
The second of the series of paintings is
dedicated to the wildlife, the wallabies, blue
wrens, koala, and even a chicory kiln.
Painting three – yet to be completed -
shows the grand prix circuit.
“There will be a couple of motorbikes on
the track and I’ll make one of the bikes in
the colours of (retired professional racer)
The fourth painting is of Churchill Island,
with highland cattle, the bridge and Cape
Barren Geese. Number five will be painted
on one of the hall’s doorways, showing San
Remo’s pelican feeding and the bridge, and
number six will be Cape Woolamai surf
Finally the seventh - on a long wall at the
rear of the building – will highlight the Nob-
bies and penguins coming ashore.
All the paintings were initially drawn on
quarter size canvas frames, which Paul
uses to replicate on the walls.
Paul is giving his time and skill free of
charge to the mural, working six days a
week, 8am-4pm “if it’s not raining”. He
works with his partner, long-time resident
and painter Dawn Raff, Dawn’s daughter
Debbie Anscombe, and her granddaughter
Tara Sleeman – who are from Melbourne
and have painted the highest sections on
“We do get quite a few interruptions from
people walking past. It’s nice for people to
stop and comment though.”
He says a lot of passers-by ask him
whether he’s a travelling artist and whether
he’ll do projects in other towns.
“One came yesterday and said it’s abso-
lutely spectacular and just what the island
needs; it’s giving the island a real boost, es-
pecially because it’s so visible,” Dawn says.
Paul, a member of the Arstists’ Society
of Phillip Island, has been painting all his
life as a pastime, usually acrylic and water
colour on canvas, of landscapes and sea-
All the paint for the project has been do-
nated by Paint Place in Cowes as well as
“The Paint Place are also donating the
application of 12 litres of anti-graffiti paint
which they will apply at the end when it’s
finished,” Paul says.
Paul and Dawn, who live at the Palm
Lake Resort (formerly the Penguin Resort),
say once the project is finished they’ll be
heading to Queensland for some rest and
relaxation in their motorhome, which is
doubling as their on-site artist’s studio at
the church hall.
Artist Paul Woodford is pictured holding a smaller canvas master version of what will be a larger mural
depicting the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.
Paul Woodford in front of the first of seven murals on the St Philip’s Church hall side wall, which shows
early pioneer, Georgianna McHaffie.
The artist in front of a mural that brings together some of the island’s wildlife.
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