Utes in the Paddock
Utes in the Paddock
Utes in the Paddock

Utes in the paddock

Utes in the Paddock is gaining increased national attention for being one of the most unique & quirky Australian outdoor Art Exhibition in the country, with many of Australia’s most gifted outback artists involved in creating this exceptional tribute to bush and outback life.

The most popular Question about this amazing art exhibit is: How did “Utes in the Paddock” come about?

Graham Pickles creator with wife Jan of Utes in the paddock project - cropped

The story goes...

While travelling Route 66 on a trip across the United States, Graham Pickles and his wife Jana were drawn to an unusually popular attraction named “Cadillac Ranch”, located in the west Texas near Amarillo.  Intrigued by the ranch’s popularity, the “Utes in the Paddock” concept grew from a whimsical ‘what if’ seed… and in August 2007 the Utes team began working on the project.
Utes were donated by residents from the area who caught the
‘utes bug’ after learning that many of Australia’s most gifted outback artists were donating their time and talent to create this unique tribute to life in the bush.
Thousands of visitors have already travelled to the Lachlan Shire drawn by the quirky outdoor gallery to discover and share in the celebration of budh and outback life.
The gallery drives tourists into central west NSW from right across Australia and from overseas to experience firsthand the celebration of outback life. 


Lachlan Valley Way, Condobolin

Contact Lachlan Shire Office:  
02 6895 1900

Introducing the fabulous utes

Utes in the Paddock

Rob Keen - Go Vegemite

”I said, ‘Do you speak-a my language?’ He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich. I come from a land down under…” – Down Under by Men at Work.
Vegemite takes the cake for growing Aussie children who spread the smooth, salty, sticky food paste made from yeast extract on just about anything edible.
And next to an Aussie passport, a stash of Vegemite is the easiest way to identify an Aussie traveller.
Originally introduced in 2oz amber glass Jars in 1923, a 115g jar of Vegemite was the first produce in any Australian supermarket to be electronically scanned. By the late 1990s the country went through 22 million jars a year. That makes the country full of “Happy Little Vegemites”!

Karen Tooth - Dame Edna's Looute

Three Aussie icons – an out-the-back dunny, a Holden ute and the glorious Dame Edna have been united to form a humorous artwork for the gallery. This comic surprise has a deeper meaning, though – an exploration of Australian society’s evolution.

Aussie Icon #1 – The ‘Dunny’ – Once there was a dunny in every yard, of every house. Call it what you may – the long drop, loo, throne, WC, karzy or dunny – the out-the-back toilet is still a familiar sight in country towns and rural properties across Australia. Variations in design often demonstrate amazing ingenuity.‘The dunny is a great leveller (from royalty to paupers) as we all must make the trip. Dunny stories (including red back spiders, dunny frogs and grannies) are part of Aussie folklore. What is a dunny? A corrugated iron building, usually with a door. Inside is a bench to sit on, with a hole cut out, under which is a deep hole in the ground. Or there could be a toilet seat placed on a ‘dunny can’ – a removable can or large tin drum. Toilet paper consists of newspaper squares hooked on a wire peg alongside the bench or on the back of the door. This is all rather a long way from the flushing porcelain toilets found inside designer bathrooms. 

Outhouse Damn Edna Utes in the Paddocks cropped

Aussie Icon #2 The ‘Ute’ An original Australian concept, the Holden utility has evolved from its humble beginnings in 1951 to present day art in an outback gallery. The ute is an essential part of Australian rural and bush life – an enduring symbol of hard work and a laidback lifestyle. The development of utes reflects the changing social history of this country from the practical workhorse of earlier times, to a performance-focused sports vehicle for today’s work-hard, play-hard generation.

Aussie Icon #3 – The ‘Dame’ What better guest than Dame Edna Everage! Aussie actor and comedian Barry Humphries’ Aunt Edna character evolved from a 1950s Moonee Ponds housewife to an international superstar with royal recognition. Her growth parallels that of Australia from an isolated colony to the world stage. Dame Edna is an instantly recognised Australian icon with lilac coloured hair (which she claims is natural) and those oversized ‘cat eye’ glasses, complete with diamantes. She is the larrikin humourist, a leveller of social customs. So here she sits, as surprised by us as we are surprised by finding her, on her ‘throne’, reading the local paper. In all her splendour, Edna in an outback dunny inside a Holden ute – it’s an icon, on an icon, in an icon.

Stephen Coburn - Ute-opia

At the end of its useful life Ute EJ62 has been scuttled like a ship of the outback to form an artificial reef for wildlife. It has become a home and sanctuary for any wildlife that seeks refuge in her.

The three trees that grow up through her are grass trees or xanthorrhoeas, “black boys” for the politically incorrect. There is a crow on the skirt of the central grass tree. A floury baker cicada hugs the trunk of the back grass tree, a black prince cicada sits on the skirt of the front grass tree. Two double drummer cicadas perch on the roof of the cabin and the bonnet.​

There is a frilled-neck lizard sunning himself on the bonnet and a western dragon sits on the roof of the cabin.

The body is the home of possums, bandicoots, and bush mice. At the base of the grass trees there is a wallaby, an emu, a dingo and a wombat.

The highway has been painted on the windscreen and rear screen of the cabin like a rear vision mirror of the collective miles this Ute has travelled.

Peter Mortimore - Clancy Stops the Overflow

This larrikin’s story of a truly heroic feat to avert a disastrous and tragic spillage of outback liquid gold is Peter Mortimore’s humourous interpretation of a classic Australian legend, painted on a VS Ute.

What bush party or Bachelors and Spinsters ball is complete without Bundy? What could be more sacred than the mateship between a stockman and his trusty stead? Some artists have to search for their inspiration, others are lucky to be surrounded by it.

Peter Mortimore lives in Dubbo and breeds horses. His equine drawings are remarkable for their correctness and for the way they reflect each horse’s distinctive personality.

Utes in the Paddock

Belinda Williams – Drizakubra

Inspired by breaking news released in October 2008 that one of the best known Australian brand names Driza-Bone was back under full local ownership, Belinda Williams took on the brave task of transforming a WB Ute into the quintessential outback stockman.

The huge figure commands a bold presence as it appears to lumber across the paddock, clad completely in iconic Aussie gear.

John Murray – Circle of Work

As described by John, Circle Work is the practice of madly driving a ute flat out in circles, usually performed ‘bundied up’ at a Bachelors and Spinsters Ball (the traditional bush get together for young blokes and ladies).

John used the galahs as a reference to the larrikin lads and ladettes who drive Utes. John painted the Ute sky blue and has galahs flying in a circular motion around the Ute.

The galah towing the Ute away represents the ‘fun police’

Utes in the Paddock
Peter Browne - Emute Utes in the Paddock

Peter Browne – Emute

Famed Australian outback artist Peter Browne was inspired for his painting of a HX Ute from the time he spent with good mate Pro Hart.

Emute features many of Peter’s signature emus along with an echidna, classic bush characters and the requisite dog set against vibrant outback hues with spontaneous splashes of colour across the bonnet.

Instantly identifiable as Peter’s work, his emus capture the strange and wonderful nature of one of our country’s most intriguing native birds.

Michael Jones - The Stockman

You can almost feel the heat rising off the weathered face of Michael Jones’ portrait of a hardworking indigenous stockman painted on the side of a FC Ute.

The glistening sheen and character of the larger than life Stockman’s Eyes has a striking impact on visitors as they approach Utes in the Paddock’s gallery.

Encircling the stockman himself is a collection of works depicts all aspects of a drover’s life.

Utes in the Paddock
Utes in the Paddock

Eris Fleming - Central West Medle

A collection of Eris Fleming’s colourful paintings adorn this EK Ute. True to his style, Eris takes us on a delightfully playful journey down memory lane to meet an array of characters from a bygone era.

Despite the hardships of their lives, the painting’s personalities are full of humour, mischief, passion and sage advice.

Greg Brennan - Golden Valley

Greg Brennan’s Golden Valley celebrates the contribution agricultural pursuit has, and continues to, make to the health of our country’s economy.  

Agriculture has been the backbone of industrial enterprise throughout New South Wales from its earliest colonial days. 

A HG Ute is the canvas for Greg’s intricately painted montage depicting cropping and grazing activities which generate the wealth which is the lifeblood of country communities throughout the State. 

Activities portrayed in detail by the collection include shearing, feeding, cropping, irrigating, cotton picking and wheat harvesting.

Utes in the Paddock
Utes in the Paddock at condobolin Australian coat of arms

Brad Brown and Scott Edwards - Ute of Arms

What more fitting place could there be for the first model Holden FX Ute than at the heart of Brad Brown and Scott Edwards’ industrial artwork Ute of Arms?

Illustrating the connection between Utes and outback Australian culture, the FX claims its rightful place between our country’s unofficial animal emblems of the Australian Coat of Arms. Native to, and found only on the Australian continent, neither the red kangaroo nor the emu can move backward, only forward.

A rendition of Holden’s lion insignia in the form of a wind vane moves with changing conditions. Together, the vane and the animal emblems symbolise our country’s progressive and pioneering spirit.

Condobolin Youth Services – Wiradjuri 'Uth' Story

Painted as if seen from above, young aspiring artists depict travelling throughout the Wiradjuri area, a landscape of rivers, land and animals.

As in the Aboriginal flag, colours in the painting have specific meanings; red represents the earth, black symbolises people and yellow the sun.

Rivers running through the area bring life to the land as suggested by the colour white. U shapes show where people gather around white circle waterholes and black circle campfires. Gathering in such a manner is strong tradition for the Wiradjuri people. ​​​​ 

Local residents nominated members of Condoblin’s Youth Services to represent their artwork and culture in the Utes in the Paddock gallery. Under the supervision of local artist Rebecca Shepherd, aspiring young artists Tonielle Newman, Dimanya Ritchie, Mikayla Engelhardt, Dylan Brandy, Shalonda Dangar, Michael Parker, Carl Williams and Ashley Taylor joined forces to create a vibrant celebration of indigenous life in central New South Wales, Wiradjuri ‘Uth’ Story.

Utes in the Paddock
Utes in the Paddock

Kristin Coburn – The Mute Ute

The Mute Ute is a tribute Ute to the artist’s partner, Wayne Goodwin (1950 – 2008). Goodwin was a celebrated country fiddle player who spent most of his career playing with the renowned country music star Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band.

After moving to Australia in the 80s, Goodwin played with Australian greats like Midnight Oil, Phil and Tommy Emmanuel (pictured on the violin) and Adam Harvey, to name a few.

He played every year at the Parkes young musician’s playoffs, helping the next generation of performers and musicians get their first taste of the big time. ​​​​ 

Goodwin played violin, guitar, sax, piano and drums. He was also a composer of music for film and TV and a musical called HSC, The Musical performed at Charles Sturt University in the months before his death. Goodwin was also a classical music composer and composed a string quartet and a contemporary symphony.

The artist, Kristin Coburn painted the fiddle and guitar, both made from mild steel and painted the Ute keyboard in memory of her beloved partner. She constructed the sculpture with the help of her brother Stephen Coburn, who also has a Ute alongside hers called Ute-opia. The notes on the top of the Ute are the opening notes of Goodwin’s String Quartet No.1.

Bill O’Shea – Supplementary Feeder

When feed is scarce and livestock are hungry, a bale in the Ute is a life or death story. 

The humming and squeaking as it crosses hard ground brings cattle running from a long way around.

Cause the Ute in the paddock is a promising sound.

Dents and dings across this Utes body testify to the fact that livestock, focused on food, show little respect for the feeder from which food falls.

Like wrinkles of age, its body is worn by tough times on the land.

Outback life is full of challenges. Good times and bad leave their mark on the body and soul.

Here, a love of living on the land “beyond the sandstone curtain” is painted into life.

Landscapes of vivid colours. Charismatic characters. A weathered Yarrabandai woolshed. A determined Drover.

And the farmer’s best friend … a paddock-bashing Ute.

Bill Oshea supplementary Feeder Utes in the paddock

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