Thorndon Park Pump House at Campbelltown Community Orchard


Campbelltown Community Orchard Mural


Reflecting on the past and celebrating the future of food production in Campbelltown, the mural is painted on the pump house that connects to the Tower in Thorndon Park Reservoir. 

Key Words

Community Garden, Community Orchard, Melamorphic, Melamorphic Images, mural, painted wall, The Painted Wall, Thorndon Park, reservoir, Melanie Spurling, artist, Trompe L’oeil, Adelaide, South Australia, Campbelltown, Campbelltown City Council, outdoor mural, market gardens, lemon, kiwi, pink lady apples, historic photographs Campbelltown.


This mural, painted by artist Melanie Spurling, on the Thorndon Park Reservoir pump house reflects on the past and celebrates the future of food production in Campbelltown.

Thorndon Park Reservoir is Adelaide's oldest reservoir, established in 1860 to supply water to the City. The pump house is built into the wall of the reservoir and connects to the tower within the reservoir via and underground tunnel. It is connected to a pipeline running down to its sister building in the Adelaide Parklands.

Campbelltown City Council worked with their local Community to establish a Community orchard on the land around the pump house. This brought attention to the dilapidated state of the pump house and initiated the process to restore the building and create a mural on the building. Council's officers and members of the Campbelltown Community Orchard contributed to the development of themes and information about local history of the area to be incorporated into the mural. Prior to painting of the mural the building was restored by S & V Glavas Builders.

The north-facing wall is where the story of the Thorndon Park Campbelltown Community Orchard mural begins. Spilling out from an iron gate is a collage of sepia toned photographs depicting the history of market gardens in the area, an abstracted Torrens River feeding into the Thorndon Park Reservoir and the silhouette of the Mt Lofty Ranges with a pattern of orchard produce. Running across the top of the walls are abstract illustrations depicting the story of cultivation (seed growth given life through water) and large details of fruiting branches showing some of the current species growing in the Community Orchard. This is set on a green background depicting a close up detail of celery; one of the major market garden crops previously grown in the area.

The bars that exist on the building are transformed to appear like an open gate, removing the barrier from the image and becoming the starting point of the story for this mural spilling out from the open gate. This iron fence and gate does not replicate any particular design or fence, but is created from the artists memory of Campbelltown in the not-to-distant past were of many houses, in yellow brick with iron fencing and details.

The story of Campbelltown's market gardens is told through a collage painted in sepia tones, referencing historic photographs sourced from the Campbelltown Library’s Archives. It includes references to family farms, wartime labour force provided by women and Italian prisoners of war returning to settle in the Campbelltown area

The orange pattern of the orchard produce spills out shaping the Mt Lofty Ranges that forms a backdrop to Campbelltown City Council. This section was painted as part of a Community open day where visitors were invited to paint the cross sections of fruit and leaves using stencils as well as leaves picked from the orchard trees.

The Cultivation Story Illustration is an abstract stylisation illustration created in the Melamorphic style that runs from left to right across the mural. The Irrigation Flower drawing in from its surrounding to create life, giving rain from its watering top bloom. This water brings life to the series of three seeds in a sequential order of germination.

The door of the pump house has been painted to represent the Reservoir Tower on the other side of Thorndon Park. This involved the artist painting the brick on one side of the door to look old and painted and a metal plate on the other side of the door to also look like old bricks. The Campbelltown Community Orchard’s logo has been included on the tower, acknowledging their commitment to the site and mural project. 

Thorndon Park Pump House 1  Thorndon Park Pump House 2  Thorndon Park Pump House 3

PO Box 1, Campbelltown SA 5074 | 172 Montacute Rd, Rostrevor SA 5073
(08) 8366 9222|| ABN 37 379 133 969
ERACampbelltown Made South Australia
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