Local artists are being offered a rare chance to leave a lasting impression on the Gippsland landscape as part of the project to build a new bridge over the Avon River.

Rail Projects Victoria is seeking a Gippsland-based artist to design a public artwork which will be built in Apex Park, Stratford opposite the new $95 million rail bridge being delivered as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s Gippsland Line Upgrade.

Hundreds of Stratford locals attended a community day in Apex Park on Saturday 8 February to have their say on the park’s upgrade, which will also include a new nature-based playground and BMX/pump track.

Community members voted for the theme they wanted to see reflected in the piece of public art – with the Avon River edging out other popular themes including Shakespeare, local flora and fauna, the railways and the history of Stratford.

Avon River is one of the fastest-rising rivers in the Southern Hemisphere and has great historical significance with nearby Knob Reserve a major campsite and meeting place for the Gunaikurnai people, the traditional owners of the area.

Expressions of Interest for artists will be open until Friday 6 March 2020 and the selected artist will be determined by an advisory panel.

Gippsland-based artists can express their interest at or by calling 1800 105 105.

The new Avon River rail bridge will boost reliability of services and allow trains to travel at up to 90km/h in this section, a massive improvement on the 10km/h speed limit currently in place on the existing bridge.

The half-a-billion dollar Gippsland Line Upgrade, which is set to be complete in 2022, will enable more reliable and the extra off-peak services Gippsland communities need.

The upgrade will duplicate sections of track, extending the Morwell crossing loop, upgrading crossings and signalling, and adding second platforms at key stations along the line.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett

“This is a wonderful opportunity for a Gippsland artist to make a real mark on the region. We’re getting the community involved to make sure this work of art is meaningful to Gippslanders.”

“We’re delivering better rail services through the Gippsland Line Upgrade and we’re leaving a lasting legacy by making Apex Park better for the people of Stratford.”