They’re thought-provoking, controversial, touchstones and eye-opening – the giant corten steel letters Villawood Properties has erected along the Geelong Ring Road and the Surf Coast Highway are meant to highlight social issues, to encourage debate.
Right now, the letters are spelling out an important post-JobKeeper message to Geelong region businesses and bosses: Employ Local.
It’s a clear pitch to bolster the community’s fortunes at a time of considerable uncertainty as we come to grips with the possibilities of a new post-pandemic era.
Villawood’s giant messages often tap the mood of the community. They’re used to highlight social campaigns of the day, to educate, celebrate, urge and get the community thinking.
Mental health, refugees, road safety, indigenous awareness, kids’ play, marriage equality, caring for neighbours, domestic violence, COVID vaccinations, respect, the Cats, Geelong City of Design – these are among the varied subjects promulgated in Villawood’s three-metre high rust-coloured letters.
It’s fair to say not all are greeted as well as others such as ‘Vote Yes’ and ‘Get Vaccinated’.
But as Villawood Properties executive director Rory Costelloe says, the letters are about providing a voice for people, especially where they might not otherwise attract great attention. And the edgier the better. If there’s the occasional brickbat, well, it just goes with the turf.
“Our letters are aimed at helping engage the community on important issues and we hope our Employ Local message will do that,” Mr Costelloe says.
“We often get people in Melbourne, including politicians, who say that whenever they drive down the coast they wonder what will the sign say this time.
“I’m keen to recruit the thoughts of others in the community, too, and not afraid to tackle controversial issues.
“People sometimes need a voice that can draw attention.
“Villawood is all about building communities designed for living and we think our Armstrong letters along the Surf Coast Highway help do just that.”
If you have a suggestion the Villawood letters might be used for, email [email protected]