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Prepartion for artwork on Colbinabbin silo starts

By Anna McGuinness

Colbo's silos are being primed and prepared for their transformation into works of art - on a massive scale. 

And De Groot Roof Painting has been given the crucial task of making sure the surfaces meet the standard of mega-mural artist Tim Bowtell, who is moving onto Colbinabbin after completing his stunning Ron Iddles mural in Rochester. 

Russell De Groot said his company had specific instructions about what was required to get the job done right.

“The first stage is pressure cleaning with water, to blast lichen, dirt and flaky paint, using 4000 psi,” Mr De Groot explained. “Then, using a grinder, we remove spots of rust before doing our own spot priming, with a clear primer and a top coat over the lot.”

There are six silos, four metal (which take longer as they have rust and lichen) and two concrete (pressure cleaning and top coats only).

The painting will be on the south side of the silos, which is helpful for the workers as they will be able to stay out of the sun as much as possible.

But that hasn't saved Mr De Groot and his team from the high temperatures of the past week making it tough going.

Despite the heat, it is hoped the job will be completed this week.

“We’re working 11-hour days - and weekends - so we should be done in about 10 to 11 days,” Mr De Groot said.

Not only are the painted silos a first for the town, the project is one out of left field for the De Groots after years of roof restoration it is their first silos.

“It’s basically the same surface that we work with every day, but it’s vertical, not horizontal, and we’re working out of the boom lift all the time," Mr De Groot said.

Operating in regional Victoria and statewide in Tasmania, Mr De Groot said he wanted to be involved with more community projects.

“That’s sort of why we’re helping them out on price I suppose, to be involved in community projects that’s what we want to start doing,” he said.

“We’ve just basically looked after them from a profit point of view from the company, so we’re just charging for materials and labour, making sure our price is down so they can afford to do it basically.

“We want to give back to the rural communities. We also sponsor Leitchville-Gunbower Football Club, to get involved locally and we’re always open to doing more.

“A big thing for us is we will be able to come back and see the silos and say we worked on that. Especially (employee) Hoby Bussey. He’s from Echuca, so he can come back and show his kids the big artwork he prepped and worked on. I think that will mean a lot to him and also us as a company for sure.”