A trio of murals installed as part of the world-first Smart Beaches project are set to provide a striking welcome for visitors to one of Lake Macquarie’s most iconic stretches of coast. (Above: Artist Daniel Joyce and Smart Beaches Project Manager Tony Blunden with the main mural)
The artworks by local artist Daniel Joyce depict Redhead Beach, highlighting beach conditions and incorporating technology providing real-time beach conditions and other data generated by Smart Beaches devices.
The works are being installed this week, with the largest 8.5m x 2.5m mural featuring on the side of the Redhead Beach Surf Lifesaving Club storage shed, facing the main beach car park.
It includes Redhead’s iconic shark tower and cliffs, and Lake Macquarie City Council lifeguards who patrol the coastal stretch during the beach season.
Accompanying panels to be installed along a low retaining wall on the path leading to the beach depict typical beach scenes and messages of beach safety, while a third artwork will be installed on the surf club building’s eastern side.
Smart Beaches Project Manager Tony Blunden said the murals would provide an enduring representation of a pioneering trial spearheaded by Council.
Partnering with Northern Beaches Council, University of Technology Sydney and more than a dozen other industry groups and tech companies, Council has spent the past 12 months trialing technology at Redhead Beach and Blacksmiths Beach to help improve public safety, improve user amenity and assist professional lifeguards.
Crowd-counting cameras and weather sensors were among the devices trialed at the two beaches, and at Shelly Beach and Manly Beach in Sydney.
Mr Blunden said the trial had been highly successful, helping the project group determine the best technology to deploy and how to collate the data it produced to best serve beach users.
“We’re now in the process of reporting back on the trial, and assessing the viability of scaling it up to roll out this kind of technology at other beaches along Australia’s coast,” he said.
The project received $910,000 in funding under Round Two of the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The funding agreement included an allocation for a permanent artwork at one of the trial beaches.
Mr Blunden said Joyce’s artwork was selected through an expression of interest process.
“Daniel’s art provides a really striking depiction of the beach, and the integration of a digital screen is a nod to the technology integral to the Smart Beaches project,” he said.
Joyce, who has been painstakingly painting beach-themed murals for more than 20 years, spent upwards of 160 hours creating the Redhead Beach artworks in his studio nearby.
“Local knowledge of the beach, and all its beauty and danger, together with regular on-site meetings with lifeguards and Council to fine-tune details of the project, has really helped,” Joyce said.
“If any part of this artwork piques the attention of a member of the community and assists in possibly saving someone’s life or preventing an incident, then this project has been a success.”
Installation of the three murals is expected to be complete by the end of the week. The digital monitor is on track for installation in August, prior to the 2020-21 beach season.
Go to smartbeaches.com.au for more information about the Smart Beaches project.