Echidna mural commissioned at Tea Gardens Hotel

Jeanette and publican Ben Hanson, who commissioned the mural to commemorate Spike’s visit last year.

A RARE encounter with local fauna has led to the commissioning of another gorgeous mural, this time at the Tea Gardens Hotel.

Local artist Jeanette Hart was asked by publican Ben Hanson to adorn the wall of the Hotel’s outdoor dining area with an image of an echidna, in recognition of the visit by a real echidna back in August 2023.

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“The little guy was found just here, wandering into the bar for a drink, then moved on,” Ben told NOTA.

Ben wanted to commemorate the rare occurrence, and take the opportunity to represent the local area, as well as pay personal homage by aptly naming the mural’s subject after his Uncle Spike.

“It was Ben’s idea to depict Spike lying in a bed of local flannel flowers, smelling their gentle scent, highlighting another special something about our town,” Jeanette explained.

“It also highlights local artists’ ability, and makes the pub more inviting.”

This is Jeanette’s first commissioned mural, after the recent gecko pole painting on Iluka St, Tea Gardens, and pivotal participation in several murals as community kindness projects with the Myall River Art Walk Group, including the Singing Whales at Bennetts Beach, the nearby NAIDOC 2023 Mullet Run, the surf wave on the side of Hawks Nest Take Away, and public toilet blocks in Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest.

“We saw Jeanette’s work on the toilet’s mural near the Police Station and got in touch,” Ben said.

“We love the Art Walk.”

This is the Hotel’s third mural, along with the big pelican and dolphins on other outside walls, all fitting into Ben and his wife’s original plans to brighten the pub with artwork when they bought the venue in 2017.

Many other artworks constitute the Hotel’s eclectic displays, including a Gillie and Marc ‘paparazzi dog’, which Ben named ‘Arthur’, bought with the proceeds from the sale of his last camera when he made the move from cameraman to publican, and stands as reminder for both himself and his young children of his previous life in that world.

Ben wants to continue eclectically upgrading the Hotel, and has some big plans for the near-future, too.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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