Poles Apart

Clayton Bay won the KESAB Sustainable Communities Award for Best Small Town last year, and now everyone’s painting the town red. And blue, green, yellow…

In the name of art, and as part of its Colouring Clayton Project through funding from the Alexandrina Council, the townspeople have been painting the Stobie pole in front of their home or covering it with mosaic tiles since the start of this year.

James Cyril Stobie could never had imagined the creativeness with these otherwise ugly poles that he invented, which were first erected in Adelaide in 93 years ago.

Adding to the community’s amazing spirit is the Clayton Bay Nursery and Environment Group organising special tree plantings as part of our schools celebrating National Tree Day on Friday, July 28 with everyone celebrating the occasion on the Sunday, July 30.

According to Leonie Henderson, president of the Clayton Bay Community Association, last year’s award was recognition of some amazing community efforts by a lot of local people over many years.

“It’s about having pride in our town,” Leonie said. “Everyone is getting behind the Colour Clayton Project, and in most cases with the help of a lot of volunteers.”

Coordinator Annabelle Collett said she was surprised recently to receive a phone call from Power SA Networks asking permission to use some of the Stobie poles with artwork as part of a promotional campaign. “Isn’t that great?” she said. “I thought they were ringing about my electricity bill (she laughs).”

Leonie said the enthusiasm behind this project had been merely typical of the people of this town. “It has included some who may not get involved in other things; it’s about individuals expressing themselves through their own personal art,” she said.

Leonie hopes to organise a Stobie pole art trail when the project is completed, and it will include a mosaic bench, pavers around the community hall and Sails – the town’s meeting hub and coffee centre – and even the park toilet block is getting spruced up. It has encouraged residents to attend art classes; such is the enthusiasm, while some who are unable to be part of the project for whatever have asked their grandchildren to use their artistic talent.

Annabelle, a brilliant local artist, said one of the great things about Colour Clayton was that every-day people were finding their known artistic talent. “We hope to have 40 poles painted or covered with mosaic tiles by the end of the year.” she added.

“A grant was made available for the project, but it hasn’t been about money; just the opportunity to enliven the environment. It’s a sense of community pride. Look around the town and you see it everywhere, but don’t tell anyone about this; it’s our secret.”

Also heavily involved in this magnificent project are the creative Pat Hawkins and prominent local artist Marg Mundy. And, if nothing else, the project has kept the local mosaic group busy at their Wednesday morning meetings. As one may also expect, the Clayton Bay Hall will be a venue for the South Australian Living Artists Festival (SALA) during August.

Clayton Bay also takes enormous pride in its community nursery, which is incredibly busy growing and planting 20,000 trees for the Currency Creek and Finniss areas as part of the National Landcare Program 20 million Trees.

The nursery has been going eight years, and focuses largely on species from the region. Nursery manager Carole Richardson said the National Tree Day events later this month were significant because they reached people of all ages, especially schoolchildren. “National Tree Day is a reminder to us all to plant and care for trees,” she said.

Further adding to Clayton Bay’s spirit is its community garden run by Lawrie Hepworth involving a dozen or more families having their own plot and sharing the produce. The town makes its Australia Day Breakfast even more special by using the fruits from the community garden, and grows pumpkin specifically for the soup at the barbeque after the local community association AGM. And you shouldn’t be surprised that both events draw a great turnout; such is life in Clayton Bay. They’re also poles part from a lot of other towns.

There will be a sale of native plants at the Clayton Bay Community Nursery by the Community Hall in Alexandrina Dr on Saturdays from August 5-September 2 from10am-noon.