This Magpie caught the eye of a Collingwood supporter at Carinya Lodge.


AGED care residents at Korumburra’s Carinya Lodge have spectacular new vistas to gaze at, with a previously drab retaining wall in the memory support garden, known as Amaroo, now bursting with images of colourful local plants and birds.

Talented Leongatha artist Melanie Caple created the seven murals, a challenge she enjoyed.
Despite being an experienced outdoor and mural artist, the Carinya Lodge wall presented something new, being on an angle and curving around.

Rather than one mural, Melanie had to determine how to make seven separate pieces work together while fitting into the unusual setting.

“I had to make sure they all were connected somehow but also stood alone as individual pieces,” Melanie said.

Coastal banksias, a blue wren and a magpie are some aspects of nature featured in the vibrant artworks.

Given the purpose of the garden, the artist wanted to illustrate easily recognisable flora and fauna.

“I wanted people to look out at the works and see something familiar that is bright and colourful, but not overbearing,” Melanie said.

It was a terrific experience for her to paint onsite with Carinya residents able to peer through their windows as she worked.

“One resident was excited by the Magpie because she’s a Collingwood supporter,” Melanie said.
Although not the meaning that work was intended to have, it was the perfect illustration of art bringing joy to residents in whatever way they perceive it.

Melanie commented on the different vantage points for the works, with residents able to look out their window and feel a sense of ownership of the painting on view.

“The man who was looking out at the blue wren told everyone that he got the best view of the blue wren,” she said.

Although the new works look as if they could be hanging on a gallery wall, they are well-suited to withstand the harsh outdoor elements.

The paintings are done on Alucobond, a coated aluminium cladding material, and are attached to the wall by means of a treated pine backing on which they are mounted.

Carinya Lodge was able to enlist Melanie’s help to brighten the retaining wall with a much-appreciated South Gippsland Shire Council Community Grant and fundraising combining to pay for the artwork.

The grant was for $8702, with fundraising generating the remaining $7398, giving a total project expenditure of $16,100.

It is intended to conduct further fundraising to allow the installation of an equally impressive garden and path to complement the paintings and provide stimulation for residents.

“Carinya and the Fundraising Committee would like to express our deepest thanks for ongoing support from local farmers who are involved in the ‘Raise a Calf’ program, many of whom donated the sale (proceeds) of their own cows; without your help, we could not make these amazing improvements to the facility,” executive assistant Sarah Jackson said.

Melanie expressed her admiration for the effort that goes into improving Carinya.

“It was lovely for staff to think about how to enhance the residents’ experience,” she said.

So much did the residents appreciate it, one couple gave Melanie a letter telling her they enjoyed seeing the painting process.