Facebook fury after vandals trash iconic roadside artwork

THE destruction by graffiti artists of an iconic Sunshine Coast mural set in former cane land off the Sunshine Motorway north of Pacific Paradise has sparked widespread anger overnight.

The painting of Old Woman Island with offshore swept waves has been seen by thousands of motorists every day since artist Owen Cavanagh first painted in 2001.

It was meant to provide daily the special magic of walking down to the beach and finding that rare moment of perfection all surfers and swimmers seek.

"It was a quintessentially Queensland beach scene,'' Owen said this morning.

"Cane shed, corrugated iron, sugar cane and perfect surf.

A 2002 file image of Owen Cavanagh with the mural.
A 2002 file image of Owen Cavanagh with the mural.

"There's always been respect there. The stuff that's over the top of it now is just really trashy.

"There are really bad tags over the top of it. They have really defaced it.

"You can't tell it was even there.

"After 14 years you would think there would be a bit of respect.

"It's funny. The post (online) went up about it yesterday afternoon and there's 1500 people chatting about it already.

"I'm willing to redo it at no cost if I can get permission."

Sunshine Coast Council now owns the land as part of its runway re-alignment plans.

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Those involved in destroying a painting that had become very much a part of the Sunshine Coast landscape clearly have no idea, or no appreciation for the effort taken in creating it.

Owen had a photo he had taken from Yaroomba that he had always wanted to paint but could never find the canvass to justify it.

A friend of the cane growing former owners suggested the shed, Owen went and sought permission giving a cartoon of beer to the family in appreciation of their agreement.

It was then a three-day exercise to complete using materials Owen supplied himself.

A Facebook post on the Sunny Coast Community Board by Pete Murdoch showing the vandalism.
A Facebook post on the Sunny Coast Community Board by Pete Murdoch showing the vandalism.

Ten years later in 2011 he returned to retouch the work.

"It's been my baby,'' he said.

"It's given a lot of people a lot of satisfaction."

Years after the painting was in place the land owners were approached by a couple of young kids and agreed they could paint a side panel of the shed thinking it would be in a similar vein to Owen's work.

By the time they realised it was graffiti it was too late.

In 2011 Owen put a banner over that graffiti, planning to leave it up for the duration of an art exhibition he was holding at Alex SLSC.

He received a phone call from the graffiti artists demanding he show them some respect.

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