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Heck, this emu’s long neck is worth the trek to Tongala

By Holly Tregenza

TONGALA has a new guard dog.

Or rather, guard bird.

Peering out from behind the Tonny pharmacy is a massive emu, painted by mural artist Murray Ross and his colour crew.

Overlooking the town, the iconic aussie bird has been a hit with locals and visitors.

Pharmacy employee Coral Cooke said in a world where Instagram and Facebook reign supreme, it was a true showstopper.

‘‘It’s been really popular with the kids. People always stop in their car to check it out — the town is looking awesome,’’ she said.

The emu is part of a larger mural project aimed at trying to get more visitors into town.

Organised by the Tongala Lions Club, the street art will complement the 10 murals around the town painted by artist Murray Ross in 2001 as part of a Centenary of Federation project and 14 murals placed outside the Nestle dairy plant in 2004.

‘‘We’re now at the stage where we need to add to it and we need more people to come to Tonny so we’ve set up this street art project,’’ said Murray, who is also president of Tongala Lions Club.

‘‘We’ve got artists from around the region who are all having a go at painting something to make the town look prettier and brighter.

‘‘Over the years we’ve never had any graffiti because we think there’s a sense of ownership of the town and the murals, which is great.’’