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BH artist adds to collection

Monday, 24th December, 2018

Clark Barrett’s camel ute complete with head, cameleer and bales of wool. PICTURE: Supplied Clark Barrett’s camel ute complete with head, cameleer and bales of wool. PICTURE: Supplied

By Craig Brealey

On the outskirts of Condoblin lies a field of dead utes but it is far from being a graveyard.

The old farm vehicles have been decorated by artists to resemble everything from a jar of Vegemite to Ned Kelly and this odd exhibition is drawing visitors to the town.

“Utes in the Paddock” came into being eight years ago with a couple of vehicles donated by farmers and, as the collection grew, the local council kept inviting artists to paint pictures on them.

Now there are 20 or more and the latest is the work of Broken Hill artist, Clark Barrett, who has given it a definite Far West flavour.

Mr Barrett painted his ute a year ago and this month drove the 600-odd kilometres east via Ivanhoe and Hillston to see how it had been set among the others.

This was because the utes were at Ootha but this year the Lachlan Shire Council moved them closer to the larger town of Condobolin, he said.

“I really enjoy driving on the dirt roads because it gives me inspiration, and I wanted to check out the site.

“It’s been quite successful. The ute is an iconic pastoral industry vehicle and the council was looking for something uniquely Australian and unique to their own district.

“They got farmers to donate their old clapped-out utes and invited artists to create something based on Australia’s heritage.”

For his work, Mr Barrett drew on the history of Broken Hill and the West Darling and turned his ute into a pack camel.

“Someone had donated an old, dead HK (Holden) and I thought, well, the camel is the original outback ute!”

And there is another local connection, said Mr Barrett. The CEO of the Lachlan Shire Council who invited him to paint the “utework” last year was someone he knew but had not seen for ages.

“Robert Hunt was the CEO of the Broken Hill Council in Peter Black’s days, about 20 years ago,” he said.

Mr Barrett said the shire council would eventually fix plaques with names of the artists and donors to the utes so you will know who was responsible for creations such as the giant bottle of bundy rum and the Ned Kelly stage coach pulled by a team of metal horses.

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