From rolling green hills to charming railway towns: your guide to West Gippsland

Many times we have watched with envy, the photos uploaded by those touring the region of West Gippsland. So we thought it’s about time we explore this region for ourselves. 

The rail towns of West Gippsland are less than an hours drive from Melbourne CBD and with the option of catching a V-line train, means you can easily explore this diverse small-town community as a weekend day trip with friends.

As you can see from our itinerary below, it’s quite the day out, with not a moment to spare, so pack the car or jump on the V-line and come and join us in West Gippsland!

A spring time tour of Manningham

Recently the team at One Hour Out were invited to explore Manningham in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. What we found was an incredibly diverse mix of residential suburbs and verdant riverside parklands.

The region includes some of Victoria’s most engaging art experiences and the eclectic mix of cafes, restaurants and boutique shopping is second to none. The northern edge of Manningham is marked by the Yarra River that winds its way down from the Yarra Valley towards the city, with endless walking trails, picnic locations and playgrounds.

Come and join us as we explore this outstanding region.

Your ultimate guide to June / July school holiday activities across Victoria

You are just recovering from the endless long weekends and the sudden increase in cold-induced sick days. Now with the mid-year school holidays about to start, you’ve got two weeks of trying to keep the little ones entertained. Allow us to lend a little hand with our ultimate list of family-friendly activities outside of the city.

Winter Wonderlights – Sovereign Hill

June 24 – July 16

Winter WonderlightsIt’s one of Victoria’s great winter experiences and of course, it goes straight to the top of the list. Throughout the day, the wonderful Sovereign Hill experience is taken up a few notches with ‘snow’ falling from the sky, Christmas-themed theatre and arts and crafts. Come nightfall, the light show lights up the buildings with a dazzling display.

Get your tickets here.

East Gippsland Winter Festival – Various

June 9 – July 9

East Gippsland Winter FestivalThe East Gippsland Winter Festival has been running for a couple of weeks now and we are hearing fantastic things. For the adults there’s an unbeatable lineup up of art, food, drink and nature based events to choose from. The more family-focused activities include  Lakes Lights at Lakes Entrance (July 1) a stargazing boat cruise and a beach naturalist excursion.

Full program here.

Lost Dogs’ Disco – Narre Warren

June 24 – July 16

Bunjil PlaceBunjil Place in Narre Warren seems to have an endless program of really interesting events and this school holidays is no different. In Lost Dogs’ Disco, visitors journey through an immersive installation of 16 dogs, some up to 5.5m tall: all in various states of repose – curled up, standing, even touching noses. The installation is the hub for a whole series of workshops, movie nights and craft activities running right through the holidays.

Find out more here.

Electric Wonderland – Bendigo

June 23  – July 9

Bendigo School HolidaysGet the family all rugged up and head to Rosalind Park in Bendigo for an immersive light show experience. Using all the latest in audio and lighting technology, the park will come alive with a light concert, a giant inflatable Astronaut an interactive flower park and interactive kids zones.

Find out all the details here. 

Winter Glow – Bellarine Peninsula

June 16  – July 16

Winter GlowWe always seem to miss the open season for this fabulous looking water park on the Bellarine Peninsula, however this year they are opening for a special winter experience just for the school holidays. Come along and build a snowman with snow falling from the sky in their purpose built Snow Play Zone. Watch the amazing light installation, ice-sculpting, fire-twirling and toast marshmallows by an open fire.

Find out how that’s all even possible here.

Ballarat Winter Festival

June 24 – July 16

Ballarat Winter FestivalThe city of Ballarat turns up the heat once again this winter with their always impressive winter festival. Bring the whole family for everything from ice skating to disco anthems and fire jousting; to getting cosy with kangaroos and a Christmas in July event like no other.

Discover more here.

Victoria’s Ski Fields

June to October

Ski Events VictoriaAs if sliding down hills in toboggans, building snow persons and enhancing ski and snowboard skills isn’t enough activity. Some of the ski resorts are really turning on this winter. At Mt Baw Baw you can take a walk with resident dingos Rowdy, Warragul (Gully) and Bunji. Every Tuesday afternoon at Falls Creek, there’s a family-friendly street party with music, games and a fire pit to toast marshmallows over. At Mt Hotham there will be a fireworks display lighting up the sky every Wednesday once night falls.

Eynesbury Winter Festival – Eynesbury Estate

June 23 – July 9

Eynesbury Winter FestivalEynesbury Estate is just 40 minutes from Melbourne CBD and easy access from Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong. Their winter festival is really something to behold with magic shows, circus performances, pony rides and roving Disney characters. However, it’s the ice skating rink that will really get the kids excited.

Plan your visit here.

Magic Show & Workshop – Bellarine Railway

June 27 and July 4

Bellarine RailwayKids love trains and kids love magic. No one understands why, so instead of fighting it why not take them to a magic show on a  real-life steam train! Leaving from Queenscliff station, Dazzling Dan the Magic Man will entertain and delight the little ones on a 45 minute return trip to Lakers Siding. Kids are encouraged to don their own magician outfits too.

Get all the details here.

Island Whale Festival – Phillip Island

June 30 – July 2

Phillip Island Whale FestivalPhillip Island is one of the best spots to watch Humpback whales as they start their migration north to warmer waters. The Island Whale Festival is a celebration of all things whales with a full program of kids activities, art installations, whale cruises and virtual reality experiences.

Download the full program here.

Open Range Art – Bendigo Art Gallery

July 5 & 6

Bendigo School Holiday ActivitiesThe Bendigo Art Gallery is well-known for its educational and fun kids program. These school holidays sees the launch of Open Range Art, a space for kids of all ages to get experimental with a variety of fun art making materials such as coloured paper, washi tape, sequins and much more.

Book a free time slot.


We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

A new gallery opens in Ballarat to support local First Nation artists

Words by Jay Dillon
Images supplied

You know there’s a need for a gallery space when local artists keep bringing in work and asking if theres is somewhere it can be displayed.

That was the experience for The Ballarat & District Aboriginal Cooperative (BADAC).  Gallery Manager, Sue Clark states ‘we had a lot of local community members bringing their artwork to the organisation, and not knowing what else to do with it.’

‘BADAC’s CEO, Karen Heap supported the idea of applying for a grant from the Living Local Regional Grants, and the proposal for an Art Gallery being approved for $200,000, we commenced developing a Gallery.’

One of Ballarat’s heritage buildings from the 1800’s was secured as the perfect site for the new gallery as it backs onto the BADAC’s buildings and is only a two minute walk from the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

‘We really wanted to create a relaxed space with native grasses and river stone features. So when you walk in, it really looks like you’re walking on country’. Sue informs us.

Local artists currently on display include Jared Guy, a local Aboriginal man who combines traditional dot work in a kaleidoscope of colours to create artwork that is a means for personal healing.

Adrian Rigney draws uses oil on canvas to  represent the landscape of his Mother’s country in the Wimmera. Adrian has been an artist for more than 20 years and is also a member of the Pitcha Makin Fellas, a deadly artist mob who have had work shown at the National Gallery of Victoria and Federation University.

As Sue tells us; the work that appears in the space is very much driven by the community. ‘We have a diverse range of items, including carved eggs, painted eggs, woven baskets, and kangaroo skins that have been etched. There’s no real set plan, whatever the artists bring in that’s what will be displayed.

Ballarat First Nations Gallery

Ballarat sits on Wadawurrung land. The local Aboriginal community was greatly affected by stolen generations. Perridak (Platypus in Wadawurrung Language) was chosen as the name for the gallery, as just like the platypus with its many different parts, the Ballarat Aboriginal community is now diverse and unique.

Purchasing work from Perridak is an opportunity for visitors to invest in both authentic artwork as well as contributing to the future of the First Nations community. 75% of the proceeds go directly to the artists, with the remaining 25% going to BADAC’s community support programs.

It is hoped the gallery will provide local artists direct reward for their cultural knowledge and artistic abilities and support the ongoing work of BADAC to provide services to the community.


What: Perridak Arts – A First Nation’s art gallery operated by the Ballarat & District Aboriginal Cooperative
Where: 2/214 Mair Street, Ballarat
When: Open from 10am to 4pm from Tuesday to Saturday
More Info: Perridak Arts

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

These magical artist cubes are popping up across South Gippsland

Words by Jay Dillon
Images supplied

Regional Victoria is a natural home for artists working in all types of mediums. Perhaps they are drawn to the natural environment for inspiration, or perhaps its the slower pace of life that provides the mental space for inspiration to form. For these artists working in remote regions, the problem has always been the lack of spaces to actually display their work. In South Gippsland, the local council has decided to step up and support their local artistic community.

Next time you are travelling through the lush green landscape of South Gippsland, you might just spot a few colourful little additions to the landscape. The ArtCubes are designed to be portable, off-grid artist sanctuaries where local creatives can either set up a temporary gallery for their work or else, actually utilise the space as a working studio.

Art Cubes Gippsland

The ArtCubes is an initiative of the South Gippsland Shire Council with the support of the State Government’s Outdoor Activation Grant, and as Shire mayor Nathan Hersey tells us, the spaces have been developed with a few different goals in mind.

It is our hope that the ArtCubes will bring extra tourism to the area as well as send a message to our local artists that they are actually valued by our community and valued by our Shire.

 The adapted shipping containers have been given a new lease on life with mood-lifting murals on the external walls by local artist Melanie Caple. Inside, the pods are lined with ply and the end doors can be opened right up to allow visitors to easily enter and engage with the artist and their work.

The three ArtCubes are solar-powered and completely self-sufficient, meaning that they can be placed in unexpected locations across the Shire, either all together or separately.

‘The ArtCubes are currently sited at Coal Creek Korumburra, after which they will move to Loch, Mirboo North and then over to Fish Creek’. Mayor Hersey tells us. ‘These towns all have fantastic artist communities, so it will be interesting to see what they do with the ArtCubes’.

That’s the wonderful thing about an initiative like this where the council provides the platform for the local artists to express their work and their community in their own unique way.

Gippsland Art

Applications will remain open for other South Gippsland towns and private businesses to host and utilise the ArtCubes for creative exhibitions and performances by contacting Arts Development Officer Mary Sullivan (

For those keen to catch the installations in the wild, keep an eye on the council social media feed for all the details (details below).


What: ArtCubes
Where: Coal Creek Korumburra 
When: Now until the end of July, then moving to Mirboo North
More info:  Visit South Gippsland

Hamilton Gallery launches two unique life drawing classes in Western Victoria

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images supplied

Pristine landscapes have long inspired Australian artists. From the vibrant paintings by First Nations artists and the contemporary works of today’s creatives – and now to you.

Hamilton Gallery, the home of visual art in the Southern Grampians, is offering two unique life drawing classes nestled in historic homesteads, overlooking the stunning natural surroundings of Victoria’s Western District.

Following the success of a sold-out event at the Arrandoovong Homestead in Branxholme, the Gallery invites both aspiring and experienced artists to join painter and multimedia artist Gareth Colliton and life models in a series of self-directed life drawing lessons.

Hamilton Gallery Classes

First, Life is Drawing at Chateau Kolor on Saturday, 17 June.

Located on a working Angus cattle farm in Penshurst, this charming 1868 bluestone homestead offers sweeping views of Gunditjmara Country, the Grampians, and the surrounding farmlands. Not to mention a dormant volcano, Mt Rouse.

A three-hour drive from Melbourne, the homestead boasts Heritage-listed gardens and original stables. It’s an inspiring backdrop for artistic expression, which – when paired with a glass of local wine – is sure to get your creative juices flowing.

Continuing the artistic journey, the following weekend, on Saturday, 24 June, the Gallery will set up inside the iconic Mount Sturgeon Homestead.

This magnificent colonial residence and working farm, managed by the Royal Mail Hotel, boasts breathtaking views of Wurgarri (Mount Sturgeon). Attendees can explore the homestead’s restored interiors, wander through the abundant vegetable garden, and pick autumn fruit at the orchard.

‘Participants will gain a rare glimpse into these regional retreats in what are the first life drawing sessions hosted in these atmospheric spaces,’ Gallery Director, Joshua White says.

‘By combining creative learning guided by a talented artist with iconic landscapes, live music, and tastes of the region, we’re offering unique experiences that we hope will leave a lasting impact on participants.’

Workshops Grampians

The life drawing classes are part of Hamilton Gallery’s “Art Outside The Walls” program, showcasing various artistic endeavours across the Southern Grampians region until the end of June.

As the Gallery undergoes infrastructure upgrades, it is hosting free workshops for children and teenagers, along with a pop-up exhibition. The culmination of these initiatives will be a grand reopening in July, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Friends of Hamilton Gallery.

Art enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a dynamic cultural experience are encouraged to seize the opportunity to participate in these immersive life drawing classes. As Hamilton Gallery continues to forge innovative connections between art, heritage, and local culture, these events promise to make a lasting impression on the artistic landscape of Victoria’s Western District.

WHAT: Hamilton Gallery’s Life Drawing series
WHERE: Chateau Kolor, Penhurst + Mount Sturgeon Homestead, Dunkeld
WHEN: 17 June 2023 + 24 June 2023
MORE INFO: Hamilton Gallery

We wish to acknowledge the Eastern Maar people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

An art lover’s guide to the Murray River

Words by Della Vreeland
Images as captioned

When we think of the characteristics that define Victoria’s most northern regions, we often remark on the balmy temperatures, the diverse landscapes, the towering eucalypts and, of course, the calming allure of our iconic Murray River.

But rarely do we bestow artistic credence to that part of our state.

Yet if we travel across the length and breadth of the Murray, we come across several cultural offerings that not only showcase the stunning natural phenomena of the north but which celebrate the artistic prowess inherent within the region (and beyond). Here is our humble art lover’s guide to the Murray River, which we hope will only serve to enrich your appreciation of our border towns.

Mildura Arts Centre

Mildura Arts Centre
Image by Visit Mildura

A leading arts and culture hub in North West Victoria, the Mildura Arts Centre boasts a regional art gallery, a performing arts theatre, a sculpture park, historic quarters and a cafe bar all in one location. Catch a comedy act, admire the contemporary art, explore Rio Vista Historic House and round off your experience with a grazing platter and drinks at the VISTA Cafe Bar. Culture vulture, satisfied!

Details here.

Barkindji Wiimpatya Murra Centre (BMEET)

Things to do Murray River
Image by Murray Regional Tourism

Bringing country and culture to life, this Aboriginal cultural centre features a range of artworks including painted kangaroo skins, hand-crafted jewels, didgeridoos, wood-burnt art, carved bowls and ever-so-vibrant paintings. The centre is also home to the Ridgy Didge Record Breaker – the largest playable didgeridoo recorded in Australia! Cultural tours are also available, you’ll just need to make an appointment.

More here.

Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery

Murray River Activities
Image by Visit Swan Hill | Photographer Ewen Bell

Sitting pretty near the Little Murray River and the Pioneer Settlement and with bountiful natural surrounds as its backdrop, the woolshed-inspired Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery offers art enthusiasts a rich and soulful experience. The gallery prides itself on its growing public art collection, touring exhibitions, workshops, and high-calibre concerts – many of which showcase the venue’s magnificent 1923 Steinway and Sons grand piano. Quite the hero!

Find out more here.

Koondrook Barham Redgum Statue River Walk

Murray River Activities
Image by Jay Dillon

Situated on the banks of the Murray River, the Redgum statue walk is located approximately an hour northwest of Echuca, meandering between the towns of Koondrook and Barham. With the sculptures carved by artist Kevin Guilders and his trusty chainsaw, the trail depicts the pioneer men and women of the district as well as the local wildlife. Spot the carved kanga, pelican, goanna, kookaburra and cod, and keep an eye out for the very first statue created of Mr Alexander Arbuthnot – the founder of the Arbuthnot Sawmill in the late 1800s which is still in operation.

Take a look here.

Foundry Art Space

Echuca Gallery
Image by Jay Dillon

Home to the  Echuca Moama Arts Initiative, the Foundry Art Space is situated on the stunning Murray Esplanade in the heart of the town’s historic Port Precinct.  Housed in the former Old Freemans Foundry building, the space welcomes artists of all kinds and creative aficionados to soak up works from the region’s finest artists and creators. With a regular calendar of exhibitions and events, as well as the opportunity to connect with like-minded folk, the Foundry is one of the Murray’s most iconic cultural hubs.

Plan your visit here.

Whistle Stop Studio Gallery

Murray River Gallery
Image by Whistle Stop Studio Gallery

Here’s another one for heritage lovers. Housed in a relocated heritage-listed railway station (formerly Strathmerton Railway Station) the Whistle Stop Studio Gallery showcases a whole range of pieces across various mediums, each celebrating and inspired by the beauty of the Murray. Located on the Port of Echuca with the river as its backdrop, the gallery gives visitors the chance to admire the artworks, watch artists create on-site, and purchase their own prints, cards or photos.

Find out more details here.

Albury Wodonga Public Art Trail

Albury Arts Trail
Image by Visit Albury Wodonga

Experience Albury and Wodonga in a whole different light as you venture through the streets and alleyways in search of the captivating public art displays – murals, sculptures, wrapped infrastructure and more. A legacy of the a legacy of the 2021 Upstream art and culture festival, the trail boasts an array of established and new works. Find the online map here, look up, look below, look beside you, and see what creatures and creations you encounter.

Learn more.

Hyphen – Wodonga Library Gallery

Wodonga Library Gallery
Image by Hyphen – Wodonga Library Gallery

A community hub with a dual purpose (hence the name), Hyphen is a venue where locals and visitors can nurture their creative juices, connect with friends and engage their curiosities. Housed in an impressive architectural, dash-like building, the hub merges art and literature and features an array of art exhibitions, artist-in-residence programs, workshops, activities for all the kids, and a dedicated library. The space also boasts several galleries including Artspace Gallery, Playspace Gallery and Community Gallery, so there’s no questioning or not whether you’ll receive your art fix.

Discover more here.  





WHAT: Art along The Murray
WHEN: All year round
FIND OUT MORE: Visit The Murray


We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

A set of major light installations are coming to two Murray River towns

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images supplied

Two Australian towns will be brought to light with a new set of sweeping outdoor light art installations created by renowned visual artist Bruce Munro.

The project, named Light/State, will be one of the country’s newest outdoor tourism attractions, with two awe-inspiring installations approved for Mildura and Wentworth region. The two sites near the New South Wales and Victorian border and both are an easy 35-50-minute drive from Mildura town centre, away from light-filled urban areas, under expansive skies.

The first installation already under construction is Victoria’s Trail of Light, a meandering stream of light comprising 12,550 illuminated ‘fireflies’, 502 ‘pods’ and projectors, and 126 solar units. It will be experienced each evening with a reflective walking journey starting at the main Lake Cullulleraine walking track, with over 301,200 flickering lights guiding the way. Munro says he intends this installation to be a “quieter experience, where people can feel meditative as they walk around and enjoy the nature surrounding them.”

The second installation, Fibre Optic Symphonic Orchestra (FOSO), will be an abstract installation with a light-responsive symphonic orchestra. Eighty-two-meter high, five-meter diameter light installations, in the form of the iconic Hill’s Hoist, will represent the musicians. Visitors can either walk through the light-scape or view from the escarpment as sound is translated into colour and beamed across the landscape.

British/Australian artist Bruce Munro, known globally for producing large-scale immersive, site-specific light installations is designing both works. He has produced more than 45 exhibitions around the world, including the famed Field of Light at Uluru. Each one is inspired by his interest in the human experience and pairs his emotive themes with natural landscapes.

The project is set to open in two phases with Victoria’s Trail of Light premiering in late 2023 and FOSO opening in the second half of 2024. Wentworth Shire Council, in partnership with Mildura Regional Development, secured $4.99 million of final funding as part of the NSW Regional Tourism Activation Fund. In addition, there is $1.26 million from other local contributors, bringing the total project value to $6.25 million. In Victoria, Mildura Regional Development secured $3 million in Victorian Government funding in May 2022 for the Victorian installation at Lake Cullulleraine.

Mildura Regional Development CEO, Brett Millington said “We’re excited to be able to deliver the whole project of Light/State, which we know will add value to our regional economy and build on further cross-border opportunities.”

The project will also provide infrastructure such as roads, site transfers, parking spaces, glamping and increased accommodation options. Hospitality venues will also be a part of the boom, ensuring punters are well-catered for during their stays.

The after-dark installations are predicted to attract 300,000 overnight visitors over the installation’s first two years, significantly lifting Mildura’s profile as a region to live, work and invest. The project is expected to inject up to $150 million into the local economy per annum and will undoubtedly attract visitors from afar, curious to see this iconic land lit up after dark.

WHAT: Light/State Installations
WHERE: Mildura, VIC and Wentworth, NSW
WHEN: Opening late 2023 and into 2024
MORE INFO: Light/State

We wish to acknowledge the Latji Latji and Ngintait people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Shepparton Festival uses the arts to dive deep into life’s big questions

Words by Della Vreeland
Images supplied

Kristen was 18 years old when she decided to leave her home town of Katunga in the Goulburn Valley and make for Melbourne in search of new possibilities.

As a young woman with a zest for adventure, she knew there was much to discover in the world beyond.

‘There is this belief here that young people need to stay (in Shepparton) that I kind of disagree with,’ Kristen says. ‘I think they need to experience other ways of thinking and then be able to return which I think is a much more powerful thing.’

Kristen says life in the city opened up her mind, and she was able to return to Shepparton years later with a deeper appreciation for the region she grew up in and a yearning to drive change – particularly in the arena of the creative arts in which she is trained.

As a visual artist, her return to the region saw her work as a council arts and culture officer as well as a gallery manager in neighbouring Nathalia. This year, Kristen takes the reins as the director of the Shepparton Festival – an annual program of events that combines performance, music, literature, visual arts and food into one melting pot of artistic brilliance.

Kristen says she believes the festival is one avenue for strengthening her town’s creative landscape and to effect change in her ever-evolving community.

Shepparton Festival She says the arts are a powerful medium to explore topics relating to climate, acceptance, equality, equitable living, and she hopes others feel inspired by the festival and feel comfortable to converse openly on such important issues.

‘One of the things I reflected upon before coming (back) here was I was really worried and afraid about conversations around those topics and the divide they might cause. But I was so pleased that the community around the festival meant those conversations weren’t necessarily always negative and often people are discussing similar ways of thinking,’ she says.

‘Shepparton has made huge progress when it comes to certain areas and I believe that has a lot to do with having those involved in arts and culture present. People who make art are generally big thinkers, and them having a place in these communities allows for the nurturing of strong ideas.’

The two-week Shepparton Festival will take place across a number of spaces, with a diverse program that also includes workshops and networking events for local creatives – an element which Kristen says is necessary for artists especially following the challenges of the recent floods and health pandemic.

One of the program highlights is the sound installation OnBelonging which is comprised of musical compositions created from field recordings of the Shepparton area’s environmental resonances and sounds.

The installation is set to provide a connection with place while also leaving the audience feeling that their presence will, in some way, affect their environment.

Kristen says the work plays on the idea that sound can be art in and of itself – something which is is really quite novel.

The program will also showcase the region’s finest artists and creatives including the likes of Yorta Yorta artists Tammy-Lee Atkinson and Brady Jones aka BRICKY B. Along with Dery Theodorus, Rachel Doller and Meg Doller.

‘Shepparton has this quiet achiever thing going on with the arts,’ Kristen says. ‘There have always been artists and creatives around but it’s never been loud and public.

‘I think this is good because it’s a blank canvas every time and there’s no national expectation for the Festival. That might change but I think at the moment, anything is possible here.’

The 2023 program is live and tickets are now on sale.


WHAT: Shepparton Festival
WHEN: March 17 to April 2
FIND OUT MORE: Shepparton Festival

We wish to acknowledge the Yorta Yorta people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Bendigo Art Gallery announces ambitious new exhibit ‘Australiana’ for 2023

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images supplied

Bendigo Art Gallery will soon be home to a major new exhibition, Australiana: Designing a Nation. Opening to the public in 2023, it is an epic curation of over 200 artworks and objects from key chapters in our country’s history and includes several Australian masterpieces.

The exhibition, which includes paintings, illustrations, furniture, jewellery, moving image, and fashion asks what defines Australian art — and by extension Australian identity and style. Viewed together, the broad curation of works takes the visitor on a tour through history, viewing how the notion of Australian identity has evolved across time: from the colonial, mythical “larrikin” iconography popular in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, to First Nation peoples culture and connection to Country.

“From the long-standing traditions of Australia’s First Peoples, to historic and modern moments of nationalistic fervour in the colony, the exhibition captures Australia’s social and cultural history and popular notions of identity and style,” says Bendigo Art Gallery Director Jessica Bridgfoot.

Including works by famed artists Vincent Namatjira, Ken Done, Jenny Kee, Kenny Pittock, Tom Roberts, Tony Albert, Sidney Nolan, Hilda Rix Nicholas, and Rennie Ellis, the exhibition acts as a series of time-capsules showcasing how these artists both viewed themselves and their country. What they saw as popular, critical and interesting is reflected in the work — which together weaves a rich tapestry of perspectives.

Two of the most recognisable works of Australian art, Tom Roberts’s iconic Shearing the Rams (1890), and Russell Drysdale’s Moody’s Pub (1941) will be on display, thanks to a partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria. The Australiana Fund collection, which is used to furnish the residences of the governor-general and the prime minister, is also a key supporter.

The vast exhibition—which is free to enter—balances history with humour, nostalgia with the new. In a playful turn, Kenny Pittock has been commissioned to make a new major sculptural installation for the exhibition titled 100 Australian Ice-Creams. While many contemporary works from Indigenous artists will be on display; a cornerstone of the exhibition overall. Important viewing for anyone wanting to see what the term Australia means today, Australiana: Designing a Nation is not to be missed.

WHAT: Australiana: Designing a Nation
WHERE: Bendigo Art Gallery
WHEN: March 18 – June 25, 2023
MORE INFO: Australiana: Designing a Nation

We wish to acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.