Discover Scottie Marsh Murals on this Trail

Scottie Marsh uses his art and a clever play on words to make political statements. Think “Domicron Perrottet” featuring the NSW Premier with a bright green coronavirus face saying “let it rip” or “Merry Crisis” depicting Scott Morrison holidaying in Hawaii during the bushfires.

Marsh’s larger-than-life murals found on walls around Sydney often feature in the news themselves. “Tony loves Tony” made the papers during the same sex marriage debate as did “Beats a Sock” which responded to Alan Jones comments about ‘shoving a sock’ down Jacinda Ardern’s throat. They both feature on this walk.

A Self-Guided Tour of Scottie Marsh’s Murals

Partial to good street art and in particular the quick wit of Scottie Marsh, I always enjoy discovering his work for myself. I’ve stumbled across a couple on my walks around Sydney and wondered about the locations of others.

Enter Justin Steele of Local Sauce Tours. Justin’s self-guided Scottie Marsh Tour around Chippendale and Redfern reveals the locations of some of Scottie Marsh’s work. That’s if they’re still there.

Welcome to the Block Mural in Eveleigh Street
Welcome To The Block
Caroline Street Redfern
Terraces and High Rise Development

Murals in public places often get defaced or painted over. Some last less than 24 hours, like the one Scottie Marsh created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. It featured a burning police car with the words “TJ Hickey” and “BLM” painted on the vehicle. It was painted on a wall with the owner’s permission.

Redfern Now

Beginning my walk at Redfern Station, I wonder if the artworks on the self-guided tour will still be there. Perhaps there will even be a new one.   

Redfern is Changing

I walk past two murals not painted by Scottie Marsh. They are the restored 40 000 years on the railway bridge at Redfern Station and another on the corner of Eveleigh Stree welcoming folk to The Block. The towering development shocks me. The Block as it used to be is no longer.

I’m temporarily disoriented as rumbling machinery digs foundations for more building work disrupting my thoughts. A fancy looking new Elouera Tony Mundine Gym at the base of a new tower block seems to be where I thought I’d find the Community Centre.

No, I find the Community Centre a bit further along and the red, yellow and black Welcome to Redfern sign is also still there. Many of the old two storey terraces lining the street have been renovated. Gentrification is well and truly happening here.

Redfern Life

A shirtless man wearing aviator mirror glasses sits on his balcony smoking. He raises his hand in greeting when I wave hello. Next to me a car pulls into a parking spot, its radio blaring. The familiar music (annoyingly I can’t place it) suddenly stops, leaving a peaceful silence.

Three Circles on an Art Deco Building
Art Deco Beauty
Peace Park Chippendale Mosaic
Mosaic in Peace Park

People walk their dogs to a nearby café to pick up a coffee. Yellow, red and green bins line the house side of the pavement. Bin day? Or perhaps there’s nowhere to store bins off the street. Windows and doors open onto the street allowing a welcome breeze to flow through homes.

Ball Tamperer

The first mural on this self-guided tour, “Ball Tamperer”, features George Pell wearing an Australian cricketer’s ‘baggy green’ and a white v-necked knitted vest edged with the Australian colours. He rubs a cricket ball with sandpaper, a crucifix resting on his chest and dog collar visible at his neckline.  

Someone has pasted small stickers depicting Scott Morrison on the occasional wall. Words across his face read variously ‘It’s not a Race’ and ‘1997’. Later I read that ‘1997’ refers to a rumour that Scott Morrison (he vigorously denies this) soiled himself in Engadine Maccas when his beloved Sharks lost the grand final in 1997. 

Scott Morrison It's not a Race by Scott Marsh
It’s Not a Race
Scott Morrison 1997 by Scottie Marsh
1997

People sit chatting on benches in Peace Park. A mosaic, made in part by local children, depicts a large coloured bird and map of the area. The street is familiar. I walked here when exploring Chippendale.

The Ivory Tower

The harsh hot sun creates dark shadows across the next mural making it difficult to photograph. Called “The Ivory Tower”, Scottie Marsh explains that it depicts ‘Australian Climate Denialism above a burning Australia’. Peole in the Ivory Tower include Rupert Murdoch, Gina Rinehart, Alan Jones and Scott Morrison wearing a lei from Hawaii.

George Pell the Ball Tamperer
Who’s in The Ivory Tower

I pick my way past furniture dumped on the street and then around a pile of cardboard boxes. Flowering tomato plants grow in a little sidewalk vegetable patch.

Bin Chickens and Danny Lim

The third mural is non-political. It depicts Australian Ibis’ otherwise known as ‘Bin Chickens’ pecking through rubbish and refuse bins with their large curved black beaks.  

Do you know who Danny Lim is? I once spotted the small grey-haired man with his wispy white beard in the city. He wore a large smile and his trademark sandwich board. I’m sure you’ll recognise him when you see the next mural on the walk.

Danny Lim Be Kind by Scott Marsh
Danny Lim

A black clad man paces back and forth in front of The White Rabbit Gallery which opens soon. I enjoy visiting the gallery but with the temperature rising rapidly (it is predicted to be over 30deg today) and more than a few murals still to find, I’ll visit another day.

Beats a Sock

Like Danny Lim, Alan Jones has a wall all to himself. Entitled “Beats a Sock”, the mural references Jones’ comment that Scott Morrison should shove a sock down the throat of Jacinda Ardern. I’ve seen it before and don’t linger.

Alan Jones by Scottie Marsh
Love Him or Hate Him?

Scottie Marsh often paints on the wall behind the Lord Gladstone Hotel. I say often, because apparently the pieces don’t last long. “Merry Crisis” was one of these. Today there’s a new one. It takes the form of a screenshot from Barnaby Joyce’s phone revealing recently leaked text messages.  

Scottie Marsh isn’t always Political

Not everything Scottie Marsh paints is political. On a wall in the Lord Gladstone Beer Garden, he painted a portrait of American rapper and songwriter Notorious B.I.G. You can see it in the background over the fence.

Walking to the next mural, I get distracted. Outside the Australia Post office, a man poses for a photograph in front of an Aboriginal artwork. Quoting Paul Keating in his Redfern address the words read “Ever so gradually we are learning to see Australia through Aboriginal eyes”.

This is what I came for

On a wall alongside a narrow driveway, I find the mural that motivated me to do this walk, “Domicron Perrottet”. Without the guide, I could easily have walked right past it. There’s another new one next to it, a screenshot of Gladys Berejiklian’s phone featuring more leaked text messages.

Domicron Perrottet Let it Rip
Let It Rip

I stop for brunch at Hunter’s Corner after admiring one of my favourite Scottie Marsh murals, “Tony loves Tony”. It’s been there a while, painted at the time of the same sex marriage debate.  A gentle breeze cools my back.

Checking to see if there’s a new work in Glover Lane, I get excited to see a man seemingly working with a brush. How disappointing. He’s pasting up an advertisement.  

Leaked Texts by Scott Marsh
Leaked Texts by Barnaby Joyce
Gladys' Texts Leaked now a mural by Scott Marsh
More Leaked Texts: This time by Gladys

Not Scottie Marsh, but something Special

I know my way around this part of Redfern and don’t quite follow the directions. Instead I walk past another special mural. Larger than life, “Mission Boy Dreams” by Roy Kennedy covers a wall lining a car park off Renwick Street. The much smaller original work is in the Art Gallery of NSW. 

Last but not least on this self-guided tour is Scottie Marsh’s depiction of Redfern rapper, The Kid Laroi. The tour notes mention that ‘LAROI’ refers to his indigenous heritage, as his mum is Kamilaroi.

Scott Marsh and same sex marriage debate
Tony loves Tony
Image of Kid Laroi by Scott Marsh in Redfern
Kid LAROI

Ciccone & Sons only open for gelato at 1pm and it’s too early for a beer at Atomic Brewery so I head for the station.

Discovering Scottie Marsh’s works: a fun day out

I’ve had a fun morning. It’s been good to get outside and walk through Redfern and Chippendale again, discovering new things and seeing some of Scottie Marsh’s murals in situ. Let’s hope they remain for at least a little longer.

Useful Information

  • Kurri Kurri is just under two hours drive from Sydney
  • Download a map of the murals from the Visitor Centre or book a tour (about 1.5hours)
  • The Visitor Centre and Angels Cafe can be found at 199 Lang Street. Ask for a print outs of a suggested self-guided walk to see many of the murals
  • Rangers do patrol the parking. Park in all day parking if you’re going to be more than 2hrs
  • The Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival is held on the Last Weekend in March

Enjoyed this self-guided walk ? Then you might enjoy exploring Chippendale and Redfern further. See here (for Chippendale) and here (for Redfern)

Comments

  1. Hi Joanne, great idea for a piece. You are a good hunter of stories in Sydney.
    Best Nicola

  2. Thank you Joanne. So informative as usual & very inspiring. Just love your articles—— they are fantastic.

    1. Author

      Thank you for your kind words, Carolyn. Comments like yours keep me motivated.

  3. Hello Joanna , I thouroughly enjoyed reading your recent blog about Redfern and after going to Evesleigh Market today I will have a bit of a wander around Redfern , a lively place .
    Ursula

    1. Author

      Thanks Ursula. I enjoy wandering around Redfern. It’s a very diverse suburb. I hope you enjoyed your Redfern discovery.

  4. Many thanks Jo for another great tour. Very well covered on Scottie Marsh. He is so clever. The Local Sauce Tours
    look good and I have not heard of them.

    1. Author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the read, Loretta. Local Sauce Tours have a range of interesting tours – I hope to do one soon.

  5. Thanks Joanne, I miss some of your wanderings… so glad to catch this one. It’s been years since being in this part of Sydney… lots of changes and yet still a great feel.

    1. Author

      Thanks Suzanne. I haven’t wandered for a while so perhaps you haven’t missed many.

  6. Great commentary and info’ as always!Will be saving this post for my next Sydney visit.

  7. Thanks, Jo, for another great blog. Whatever political views, “Beats a Sock” is a beautiful piece.

    1. Author

      Thanks Bernadette. I have to admit, it’s not my favourite. I do like the Tony marries Tony – painted during the same sex marriage debate here in Australia.

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