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Sheffield Tasmania: The Amazing Town of Murals in Australia

Sheffield Tasmania: The Amazing Town of Murals in Australia

Our first experience in Tasmania was rolling off the Spirit of Tasmania ferry in Devonport at 6 am and picking up our hire car. It had been a rough night’s crossing from Melbourne.

Even the captain had put out a tannoy saying it would be one of the worst crossings of the year, and he had been right. All that was on my mind now was where I could get a decent coffee to wake me up!

We were in Tasmania for an 8-night road trip, part of a bigger 6-week trip we had planned around Australia. I had researched Sheffield’s amazing mural town, and it seemed like the obvious place to check out on the way to our first overnight stop, Cradle Mountain.

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Discovering the Mural Town of Sheffield

On the Road From Devonport to Sheffield

It was a short 25-minute drive from Devonport to Sheffield. The countryside scenery was lovely, but sadly the amount of road-kill was not. In Tasmania, many animals get killed by vehicles each day.

They walk into the roads at dusk and dawn while hunting for food. Not something we see on the UK roads, and quite a wake-up call – literally!

History of Sheffield

The town had suffered hardships in the past, and in 1986 the local council decided to put Sheffield back on the map with the introduction of murals on the sides of its buildings.

The idea had worked, and this once sleepy town is now an attraction in its own right, with over 200,000 visitors viewing over 50 works of art a year. Sheffield also holds the annual Tasmania Muralfest, where artists enter a competition to win a chance to decorate one of Sheffield’s buildings with their art. It attracts people from all around Australia and overseas.

Lucky for us, when we arrived, we were the only visitors due to the time of day. Unlucky for us the coffee shop didn’t open for another hour, and I was gasping!

With a while to kill before the town woke, we took advantage of the lack of cars or visitors and wandered around the town. We took photographs of the murals with subjects from rural life, historical events and wildlife from the area.

A Unique Open-Air Art Gallery

The first mural was painted in 1986 by John Lendis and depicted a mountaineer sharing his home with the animals. The town was rebranded “The Town of Murals” and became one of the best places to visit in Tasmania. It was quirky, fun and something completely unique in Tasmania.

The first mural commissioned in 1986 painted by John Lendis, depicts Gustav Weindorfer, a passionate mountaineer and conservationist sharing his home with the wild animals

The Blacksmith Cafe had one of the most stunning murals painted on the shop’s front and side.

Front of Blacksmith's Cafe

A.G.Rowe has been commemorated in this painting as a local inventor of a coin-operated self-service, automated fuel pump, a pressure cooker and a machine for washing carrots for use on farms.

Notice the trompe l’oeil effect of the small child peering into the shop window in the second photograph.

The cascading waterfall depicts many that are found throughout Tasmania, linking the town to the nature around it.

Local eagles painted on the grocery storefront. We were lucky enough to see the real thing on the outskirts of the town.

Notice our shadows on the ground in the early morning sunshine. The Sheffield Tasmania Bible Church had a mural painted across its front showing an Australian farmer at work. Another scene was more religious and showed Jesus and his worshippers in the rural landscape of Tasmania.

Have you ever seen a cuter ice cream shop? It depicts early school days in Sheffield, and not far away, my favourite mural features all the animals indigenous to Tasmania.

The mural of a shopkeeper serving a girl with two of the world’s most famous brands on show, Cadbury and Coca-Cola. The mural has been painted straight onto the brickwork giving a tiled appearance.

The mural of a shopkeeper serving a girl with two of the world's most famous brands on show. Painted straight on brickwork gave this one a tiled appearance.

A Great Place to Start a Tasmanian Road Trip

Sheffield is more than just murals; it has a feeling of calm with a stunning backdrop of Mount Roland. It was a total contrast to the non-stop city of Melbourne that we had only left the previous day.

We were still in Australia, and yet it felt a million miles away with its colonial-style buildings and manicured front lawns. Sheffield has a charming identity, and you would be forgiven for thinking you had stepped back in time.

The town had been a great introduction to Tasmania, and we looked forward to visiting many more exciting places in Tasmania on our road trip.

Finally, signs of life became apparent around town, and we headed to a coffee shop so that I could satisfy my inner coffee monster and grab some breakfast.

Sheffield had been a fabulous introduction to Tasmania, and on our exit, this signpost caught our eye. We stopped for a photograph and asked a local if the names were real, and guess what? They all are.

Just imagine living in the Garden of Eden or even Paradise!

Tasmanian sign post with place names such as Garden of Eden, No Where Else and Gentle Annie

Please Pin for Future Travel to Australia

Looking for further Australian inspiration? Please check out the following posts:

Shelby @fitasamamabear

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

This would be a stunning place to walk through!

WhereAngieWanders

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

It really was, it just kept on going and every single building had a mural on it!

Nick

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Looks awesome, especially with the mountains in the background. Great pics.

WhereAngieWanders

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Thanks, it was a really unique place to visit.

Karis | Don't Dream, Just Travel

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Wow, look at all that street art! I hope to explore Tasmania one day myself. It is going to have to be a long trip, though!

WhereAngieWanders

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Yes, I included it in 6 weeks travelling around Australia. Tasmania was by far my favourite part of OZ.

Annemaree Clementson

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

oh I can't wait to get back to Tasmania - and I've never visited this town, thanks for the tips.

Nicky

Tuesday 25th of February 2020

I’m a sucker for street art and these murals are wonderful! I think like you my favourite has to be the mural depicting all the Tassie animals, what a talented artist! Incidentally was there much information about the artists, I’d be interested to find out more about them.

WhereAngieWanders

Tuesday 25th of February 2020

No there wasn’t any directly visible around the murals however I’m sure the net would have something about some of them. There is an annual competition for new artists to submit a mural. I would love to be there to be part of that. It was such a lovely town