The community of Stanhope can see their legacy in town after an enormous photo mural has been unveiled on the northern wall of Fonterra’s new cheese plant as final touches are made to prepare for the site’s official opening and community celebrations.
Over 11,000 photographs, past and present, were submitted by enthusiastic Stanhope and District residents, Fonterra employees and the broader dairy community for this unique community art installation.
Every image has been captured as a tiny mosaic tile that then makes up the overall mural, measuring 48 metres by 5 metres in size. Themed ‘Legendairy Stanhope – Proud People, Proud Community’, the mural celebrates Stanhope’s cheese-making history dating back to the 1920s, along with a rural community known for its dairy farms and agricultural abundance.
Some of the images selected to feature on the mural were taken by local residents with a keen interest in photography including Bob Holschier, long term Stanhope resident. “What Fonterra is doing is extremely beneficial to the area, and since they took over the site in 2001 they have been much more involved with the community. The mural is an example of that, it’s a great step in the right direction,” says Bob.
Bev Joiner is a keen amateur photographer and dairy farmer from Kyabram who supplies milk to Fonterra’s new cheese plant at Stanhope. Bev took part in the photography masterclass organised by Fonterra earlier this year with her photos of rural life on the property including the Dethridge water wheel and dairy cows as featured on the mural.
“I tend to take photos of my grand-daughters and our family around the farm or at the local rodeos, so it’s wonderful knowing that my entries were selected for the mural. The mural tells many local stories and I feel honoured to be a part of it,” says Bev.
Historic images featured in the mural were submitted by residents from their own family albums such as Leighton West, a third generation dairy farmer, who currently supplies milk to Fonterra. He says the black and white photograph of his grandfather John Henry West (seen wearing a hat and waistcoat) who started the family farm in the 1920s is a reminder of his own family’s contribution to the area.
“I took the reins of our farm from my father Jack who was John Henry West’s son and we will soon be celebrating 100 years of dairy farming in Stanhope. We’re all linked together through dairy and agriculture around here and I think the mural really celebrates those strong connections,” says Leighton.
In addition to the mural, a limited edition commemorative book and an interactive website will be launched in mid-September to recognise the contribution of everyone involved and to share some of the stories that sit behind this remarkable project.
Stanhope Site Manager Jason Wright says the project was only made possible because of the enthusiasm of the community.
“Fonterra thanks everyone who took the time and effort to participate in helping to bring the mural project to life. It’s definitely something that we can all be proud of,” says Jason.