Life Imitates Art

The Wedderburn community has raised $20,000 to move the Wedderburn railway goods shed made famous in Grahame Sydney’s work, July on the Maniototo, back to Wedderburn. The goods shed had been used for storing coal in Idaburn, about 5km away. The coal mine is now closed and the shed, built in 1900, has been reinstated about 200m from its original site. The community hopes to give the shed its green look, and to have agricultural displays inside for the thousands who pass on the Otago Central Rail Trail every year. Grahame Sydney said from Dunedin he was pleased the shed had returned to Wedderburn, but he did not know how much it had to do with his painting.

“It’s famous as a symbolic nostalgic piece. I think it stood for so much; the rural farming way of life.” He sketched out the art work in the winter of 1974 and painted it over two to three weeks later that year and in early 1975.