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Her Song Played as the Titanic Sunk, Her Mural Adorns a Gippsland Town

She sang in private for Queen Victoria and was the soloist at King Edward VII's funeral - the largest event in the western world to that date with more than one million people viewing the funeral procession.

She made one song so famous that it was chosen as the last music played on the Titanic, and at the Memorial Concert two years later 7,750 leaders and royalty from across the world, many openly sobbing, stood to applaud her as she performed Nearer My God To Thee, 'her' song made all the more famous by its tie to the Titanic tragedy.

Yet most Australians, me included until recently, do not know of her.

Ada Jemima Crossley was a Gippsland girl, born in 1871 as the sixth of 12 surviving children. In 1903, at the height of her global fame, she returned to within just three miles of her birthplace to perform in Yarram to raise funds for the town's first hospital. And it's here - at Yarram's Mechanics Hall where she performed 118 years ago - that you can 'meet' her today. A mural of Ada by renowned silo and street artist Heesco now adorns the exterior wall.

And if this story isn't amazing enough, there's one more twist.

As some destinations curled into a foetal position when COVID hit, Yarram pulled up its socks, strapped on its thinking cap and began planning a whole new future. They turned to art as a secret weapon, adopting Heesco (image above) to transform their entire town. To date he has painted 17 murals with more coming.

Along the way, Yarram – Heesco Town has created hope, joy, a blaze of colour and an Australian first!

That’s right, this is the only place that's deliberately adopted one street artist to paint throughout the town. It seems Yarram has a penchant for creative actions and acts of creative genius. And they've been rewarded for it, winning the Gold Award for the 2020 Best Street Art Trail.

Check out all the winners here.


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