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.

Tickets are now on sale for Sovereign Hill’s famous Winter Wonderlights

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images supplied

Everyone loves a white Christmas, but we Aussies rarely get to experience it the way our European friends do. Unless you head to Ballarat from June 24.

Victoria’s most popular living museum, Sovereign Hill, is once again hosting its Winter Wonderlights Festival: a three-week bright, white Christmas-themed extravaganza.

Just 90 minutes from Melbourne, it’s the perfect spot to take the family for the school holidays – and don that daggy Christmas sweater you’ve been saving.

Christmas in July

Imagine cosying up by the fire, drinking a mug of hot chocolate while fairy lights twinkle nearby. Sound good?
Now add a brilliant light show illuminating a century’s-old Gold Rush museum into the picture.
You’re starting to get an image of Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonderlight Festival.

Sovereign Hill

From 24 June to 16 July, the Sovereign Hill streetscape will transform into a snow and light-filled space, sure to dazzle visitors from young to old. There’s a bustling schedule of family-friendly daytime and night-time activities, opportunities to meet Saint Nicholas himself, and enough Christmas-themed treats to last the year.

With so much on offer, we thought we’d give you our pick of the activities. So you can worry less about scheduling – and focus more on merrymaking.

Bright lights, little city

We must begin with the hero of the festival: the light show!

Each night after sundown (around 5.30 pm), Sovereign Hill’s Main Street transforms into a rainbow of light and imagery. Designed in tandem with Electric Canvas – the team behind much of Melbourne’s White Night – these displays are nothing short of magical.

Candy canes twinkle above an antique sign. Neon bows loop and unloop on a tin veranda. Paired with the Christmas carols echoing through the street and faux snow pluming into the air, it’s a feast for all the senses.

The projections finish at 7 pm and can be very busy. So we recommend starting at the top of the hill and meandering through Main Street towards the exit rather than away. You’ll dodge the big crowds and enjoy a better view.

Winter Wonderlights

Warm up your winter with these old-school activities

A regular day pass will buy you all day and night access to the museum. That means you can enjoy plenty of daytime activities and the light show for one affordable price.

Famous for its Gold Rush character, Sovereign Hill has ample activities for the whole family. From candle-making and horse and cart rides to gold panning and lolly eating – you could easily spend three days at the museum and still have more to see.

If you’re travelling with children, you can’t miss the gold panning. We recommend bringing gumboots because things can get wet as you sift through the mud for the treasures.

Once you’ve exhausted the pan, stop by the lolly shop, Brown’s Confectionary, to taste its famous boiled raspberry drops. Handmade to a traditional recipe, these treats are especially sweet in winter.

Continue the shopping spirit with a stroll through the European-inspired Christmas Market. Grown-ups looking to imbibe can warm up with a mulled wine. And there’s gingerbread for the little ones.

Costumed characters walk around throughout all areas, performing pantomimes and interacting with guests. You can find Saint Nicholas and ask for a photograph if you’re lucky. These actors are the final flourish of a very immersive experience.

You can also head to the Victoria Theatre on-site to watch a scripted theatre performance, which we hear is Christmas themed too. A carefully created replica of the eponymous 1850s Ballarat theatre, the space and the stories told there transport viewers to a bygone era.

Winter Wonderlights

Our tips for a smooth stay

The Winter Wonderlight Festival is extremely popular, with tickets selling out quickly. So your best move is to plan your trip and book early.

Here are our top tips to ensure your visit is fun and friction-free.

  1. Book early: We can’t say it enough. Tickets are available now via the Sovereign Hill website. A wide range of access is available, from single to family passes.
  2. Rug up: It’s no secret that Victoria’s Central Highlands get cold. The days in Ballarat average 10 degrees, so be prepared for even chillier nights.
  3. Make a weekend of it: Because the light show is only visible at night, it’s a good idea to book an overnight – or weekend – stay. There are plenty of accommodation options in nearby Ballarat. And if you want to continue the historical theme, BIG4 just opened a holiday park next to Kryal Castle.
  4. Reserve a table: The restaurants inside Sovereign Hill tend to fill up early. So if you’re looking to eat on-site, call or pop in ahead of time to book your seats.
  5. BYO marshmallows: There are places to roast them, but sadly no places to buy them. You will be the envy of everyone there.

Winter Wonderlight Festival
Sovereign Hill Museum, Bradshaw St, Golden Point
24 June – 14 July 2023
Book your tickets here

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung 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.

It’s time to return to the Murray

Words by Anthea Riskas
Photography Jay Dillon and supplied

Seeing towns along the Murray River endure the flood events of 2022, was devastating. But now that the waters have subsided, and the arduous cleanup and repairs complete, these resilient communities still need your help. And what they need you to do is visit!

House Boat Murray RiverWith approximately 2,700km of winding river and waterways to explore, pristine landscapes, rich Indigenous culture, a thriving arts scene, museums, top notch tucker and accommodation options that range from under-the-stars to 5-star, there’s so many reasons to head to the Murray for your next getaway.

The obvious place to start planning is along the river itself, and one of the most well-loved ways to enjoy it is by skippering your own houseboat. Fire up the group chat and get a bunch of your favourite pals together to share costs and make memories on your own floating holiday house. You can set sail from Echuca, Moama, Yarrawonga, Mulawa, Mildura or Wentworth. Throw a fishing rod over the side, slowly watch the world go by and moor along the way to explore smaller towns. All you need is a full driver’s license and a sense of adventure, the captain’s hat is optional.

Camping Murray RiverMore of a coastal lover? Well so you thought because there are beaches here too! Some of the best stretches of sandy inland beaches can be found near the towns of Cobram and Tocumwal and are perfect spots for camping, kayaking and water skiing.

Perry Sandhills is a spectacular series of sand dunes that have been formed by wind erosion over thousands of years. Traditional owners once camped and hunted here and evidence of their activities, as well as skeleton remains of mega-fauna, are still being revealed as the sand dunes shift over time. It is a stunning landscape to walk through and explore with the family. Kids will love to tumble down some of the steeper dunes. The dramatic site has been regularly utilised as a backdrop to a number of popular films including The Man from Snowy River II.

The Sandhills are also one of many sites of the region that hold deep cultural and spiritual significance to local Indigenous peoples, and another must-see stop on this side of the border is the Aboriginal culture centre Barkindji Wiimpatya Murra Centre (Bmeet), in Dareton. Here you’ll find artworks ranging from traditional carvings and painting to jewellery and more.

Things to do Murray RiverAt the more contemporary end of the art spectrum, and at the complete opposite end of the river in Albury, is another noteworthy Indigenous stop – the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk. Here you’ll find 15 sculptures installed along 5km of the sealed Wagirra Trail path, that will wander you past playgrounds and parks, and finish at the Wonga Wetlands.

One of the most extraordinary artistic ways to plan your Murray River journey is by mapping out a tour of silo art along the way. Larger than life murals can be seen literal stories high, painted on the sides of wheat silos in towns like Rochester, Colbinabbin, St James and Picola. This outdoor “gallery” has to be seen to be believed!

More of a history buff than an art lover? Then there’s plenty for you throughout the region, with museums and collections ranging from an historic gaol in Wentworth, to all things automotive at The Depot in Deniliquin, from colonial recreations at the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre to a dry-docked submarine in Holbrook and flying boats at Lake Boga. If this is starting to make no sense, it’s your sign to start visiting for yourself.

Hiking Murray RiverNature lovers are utterly spoiled for choice with National Parks aplenty, ready for you to camp, canoe, cycle, hike, swim and end each magical day around a fire, looking up at the stars and marvelling at how many times you’re going to have to return to tick off all the locations on your list.

And then there’s food! Which we could dedicate an entire article to – and which we will do soon, so stay tuned to uncover a secret speakeasy cocktail bar, hipster-level coffee, fine dining and so much more.

For now though, as the weather starts to cool down south, remember that towns like Mildura have semi-arid climates, which mean they’re perfect winter destinations and all along the Murray River Region you’ll find a warm welcome, so get planning!



Where: Murray River Region
What: Nature, art, history and more!
More Info: 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.

Savour the flavours of the past at Sovereign Hill’s Heritage Harvest Weekend

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images supplied

As autumn sets in, bringing with it auburn leaves and crisp morning air, many of us are looking for ways to warm up — our hearts and our bellies.

The Heritage Harvest Weekend at Sovereign Hill returns on May 27th – 28th, bringing together the community for a celebration of abundant seasonal harvest and heritage craftsmanship. It’s a golden opportunity to journey back to the Gold Rush era and discover how our nineteenth-century ancestors preserved and prepared their produce.

Heritage Harvest Festival

Over 30 vendors, mostly local, will take over the historic Sovereign Hill site for the weekend, showcasing their skills in fermenting, drying, salting, and curing food, as well as distilling. These age-old skills have been passed down through generations, and this event provides an opportunity to experience them firsthand.

But it’s not just about observing these skills in action. This weekend is designed to get your hands dirty, your plates full, and your mind inspired.

Three chefs, including the renowned Tony Tan and Tim Bone will be on-site to provide demonstrations, showcasing their expertise and sharing their culinary tips and tricks.

Tim Bone — Ballarat’s own Masterchef semi-finalist turned professional chef — will put his flair for bold, hearty flavours into gear with a special and intimate Miners Fare Masterclass. We’ve been told he gives the iconic baked bean a modern-day twist — which obviously must be seen to be believed.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a celebration of Gold Rush food without a taste of Asia. Australia’s top Asian cuisine chef and teacher Tony Tan unveils the ancient art of dumpling making in his interactive workshop.

For those looking for something extra special, a separately ticketed lunch will be available, with a menu designed by chef Julia Busuttil Nishimura — also known as Julia “Ostro” after her bestselling cookbook — in collaboration with the Peter Rowland Group. The menu promises to be a delicious showcase of local produce and culinary talent.

Visitors to the Harvest Weekend can also explore the world of beekeeping, sourdough, cheese, and more at the Harvest Village. A botanical bar featuring gin, as well as a whisky and wine area, will be on offer for those looking to imbibe. And if it’s a taste of life on the goldfields you’re after? Head to the diggings, where you can indulge in damper and stew.

Sovereign Hill Festival

Even the littlest visitors will be entertained at the Harvest Weekend, with a Little Explorers Zone providing a fun play area for kids.

With so much to taste, craft and stock up on, we recommend taking a gander through the Harvest Weekend Program to plan your trip.  Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or just looking for a fun day out, there’s something for everyone at this family-friendly event.

WHAT: Heritage Harvest Weekend
WHERE: Sovereign Hill, Golden Point
WHEN: 27 – 28 May 2023
MORE INFO: Heritage Harvest Weekend

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

Regional art gallery hosts Australian Women’s Weekly retrospective

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images supplied

1933 was a big year for the history books – some events more pleasant than others. An unequivocal high, however, was the inaugural publication of The Australian Women’s Weekly. A magazine as ubiquitous as it is beloved, at the height of its popularity, around half of all Australian women were reading it.

Now, 90 years on and still in circulation, The Weekly has partnered with Bendigo Art Gallery to launch The Australian Women’s Weekly: 90 Years of an Australian Icon.

Opening May 27 and running until August 27, this free exhibition pays tribute to some of the trailblazing women who have made the Weekly a magazine “for women, by women” since its inception.

The exhibition will showcase some of the magazine’s historical highlights, including the inspiring women who have contributed to its unmatched success, the changing fashion and style trends featured in its pages, and the creative domestic projects inspired by the magazine.

Those with an interest in fashion, journalism, or the course of feminism in Australia are in for a field day here. Flip through editions from the 50’s and 60’s with their articles on current affairs, fashion, cooking, homemaking, motherhood and romance. And chart the journey to the publications of today which cover news, lifestyle, celebrity issues and more.

Exhibitions Bendigo

Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about the inspiring women who helped shaped the magazine. Among them is Dorothy Drain, a courageous wartime reporter, who reported from the front lines during World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Of course, The Weekly has always been a source of inspiration when it comes to fashion and style, and the exhibition will feature a selection of garments by leading Australian designers, worn by notable Australian women on recent covers. These include Toni Maticevski worn by legendary culinary entrepreneur Maggie Beer, Sonia Cappallazzo for actress and writer Miranda Tapsell, and an Aurelio Costarella gown worn by Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

Dressmaking, interior design, craft, and cooking projects inspired by the Weekly will also feature. The guest of honour – the iconic Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book, which has been inspiring creative parents for over 43 years – will be there too.

“We are beyond thrilled to be bringing some of The Weekly’s most memorable moments to the Bendigo Art Gallery in what will be a spectacular start to our 90th celebrations. The Australian Women’s Weekly has a rich heritage of combining agenda-setting news stories, real-life features with a legendary lifestyle and food offering since 1933. 90 Years of an Australian Icon brings the breadth of The Weekly’s content to the fore, demonstrating its tremendous influence on the lives of Australian women.”

Whether you’re a fashion lover, a history buff, or simply looking for some creative inspiration, this exhibition has something for everyone. And with the V-Line train fares recently capped at $9.20, there’s no reason to miss out.


WHAT: The Australian Women’s Weekly: 90 Years of an Australian Icon
WHERE: Bendigo Art Gallery
WHEN: 27 May 2023 – 27 August 2023
MORE INFO: Bendigo Art Gallery

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.

The long-awaited restaurant opens at Mount Monument and it’s everything we hoped for

Words and images by Jay Dillon

It’s the cellar door and sculpture park that’s been wowing people since it opened at the base of a mamelon (a rocky mound created from volcanic activity) in 2019. Now, a fine-dining restaurant has opened at the front of the building with views across the vineyard towards Mount William and Lancefield.

Chef Ben Salt is a local of nearby Gisborne and has created a four-course set menu for diners ($75pp) with a focus on showcasing local producers, producing minimal waste and complimenting the estate’s cold climate wine varieties.

First course features our favourite cheese makers from Castlemaine ‘The Long Paddock Cheese’ and a selection of cured meats. Next is a kingfish crudo served with citrus slices, pickled fennel and sprigs on top. The main on our visit was the option of a confit duck leg with Shiraz glaze or pork belly soy chilli caramel sauce. The menu changes with the seasons, so check the website when booking to find out what you are in for.

There is also the option to enjoy smaller dishes from the kitchen in the cellar door area like pea and mint arancini and vibrant burrata with this season’s heirloom tomatoes and basil leaves. We highly recommend the oysters with Mt Monument Riesling Mignonette, matched beautifully with a glass of their 2022 Heathcote Greco.

Mount Monument Winery

It’s only the third weekend of the restaurant opening which is a partnership between owners of the property, architects Nonda Katsalidis and Jane Collins with local hospitality veteran Georgia Veitenheimer-Bradwell and the Lewis family.

The fit-out is quite industrial in aesthetic. The truss frame is painted rust red to compliment the simple concrete prefabricated tilt slab with high ceilings. Small sculptural pieces on the back wall are prototypes and ideas developed by Nonda for the sculpture park. The furnishings are dark wood and create a stark silhouette against the light emanating from the windows that look East across the property.

We love how each new addition to this Macedon winery is slowly revealed to us and always comes with a surprising twist, rumours are that the next addition is a small eco accommodation option on the western side of the property with views over Hesket, hanging rock and the stunning sunsets. Stay tuned.


What: New restaurant for Mount Monument Wines
When: Friday 11am – 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am – 4pm
1399 Romsey Rd, Romsey
How Much: Set course $75pp
More Info: Mount Monument

We wish to acknowledge the Wurundjeri 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.

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.

An immersion into nature and the outdoors this spring at Sovereign Hill

Words by Della Vreeland
Images Supplied

As the bleakness of the last few months drifts away and the springtime unfolds in its stead, our readiness to shake away the winter blues and embrace all that nature has to offer becomes much more pronounced.

To help sate our yearning to reconnect with our surrounds, Sovereign Hill is hosting a whole suite of activities during the spring which will encourage visitors to explore the beauty of Ballarat’s natural wonders all while discovering the best elements of the award-winning outdoor museum.

Bush Fun Day

Sovereign Hill School HolidaysThis school holiday program held at Sovereign Hill’s Narmbool property is a family-friendly event set to enchant all the nature lovers out there.

Cook some warming damper for morning tea before setting off on an exploration of the 2000-hectare working farm. Narmbool’s expert guides will walk you through the property where native wildlife thrives, and the sights, sounds and smells of Mother Nature abound.

The day will end with lunch and roasted marshmallows over an open campfire. Pure bliss.

Take a look here.

Herbal Medicine Foundations

Sovereign HillThis special workshop will give you the chance to explore what lies beneath nature’s surface as you discover the medicinal properties contained in plants. Concoct your own herbal oils, salves and balms, create tinctures and tonics, and learn how the land can contribute to your health and well-being.

The workshop will be conducted by qualified Ayurvedic practitioner, chef and horticulturist Naomi Ingleton who is currently studying a degree in Western Herbal Medicine. Having worked with herbs from a young age, Naomi grew up on a self-sufficient dairy and potato farm in Gippsland where her grandmother taught her how to use herbs for medicinal purposes.

According to Sovereign Hill deputy chief executive officer Katrina Nitschke, springtime offers the perfect opportunity to explore the wonders of the natural world.

‘Spring is a time for renewal in nature, it can also be a time when we renew our sense of wonder and awe at nature’s capacity to improve our health and well-being,’ she says.

Details here.

Children’s Activities

Ballarat KidsSovereign Hill’s spring calendar of events is also jam-packed with activities to keep the children entertained, so the school holidays don’t need to be so anxiety-inducing!

The Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens will encourage play and creativity, introducing young ones to the beauty of gardens using items found around the grounds of Sovereign Hill, while the 1850s pantomime Blackbeard the Pirate will have the kids and adults in belly laughs.

A new outdoors game has also been conjured up in time for the new season, featuring a map to find clues and hunt for a special prize.

‘Sovereign Hill offers a showcase of new ideas and events designed to inspire and nourish our sense of curiosity and potential,’ Katrina says.


WHAT: Sovereign Hill’s Spring Series
FIND OUT MORE: Sovereign Hill

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