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How many of these hidden Nillumbik Shire gems do you know?

Words by Jay Dillon
Images supplied

Baldessin Studio

Baldessin StudioHidden away in the Red Stringybark forests behind the town of St Andrews, is one of Victoria’s most significant printmaking studios. The solid timber and stone studio was hand-built by acclaimed printmaker George Baldessin in the 1970s and is now managed as a not-for-profit artists’ studio by George’s widow Tess and a small team of passionate artists.

The studio opens to the public only a few times of the year, including the Nillumbik Open Studios (not participating in 2023), small-group workshops and courses and Printmaker’s Picnic at the end of each year.

Check their website for upcoming dates.


Eltham BarEntering the doors of Naught Distilling is a real surprise to the senses. Sitting at the end of a long driveway in Eltham industrial estate, one would expect to find a light and bright working distillery with perhaps some timber bench seats and a tasting bar.

Instead, visitors are greeted with a low-lit sensual interior with velvet curtains, small leather booths and an extraordinary display of hanging floral arrangements and spot-lit oil paintings.

The gins range from the Classic Dry Gin to the more adventurous Sangiovese that is combined with grapes from the Yarra Valley. We highly recommend taking a seat on the green velvet barstools and ordering a cocktail flight and a few morsels from the snack-based menu.

Make a booking here.

Diamond Creek Murals

Diamond Creek MuralsThere’s nothing like the feeling of turning a corner and being engulfed by the sight of large-scale art in a place where art (in theory) has no place to be.

That’s the feeling as you head around the back of the Diamond Creek main street to the car park off George St. These large 20-metre works by local artists are all very different in style and turn an everyday car park into a gallery amphitheatre.

‘Run Time Error’ by street artist Itch is like a surrealist storybook scene featuring an elderly man just moments from stepping on the computer delete button. ‘Silly’ Sulley blends fluorescent aerosol colours to form a loving dingo family. And Mark “Meataxe” Taylor brings us a landscape image of a young girl in a field that becomes almost abstract when taking in the work up close.

Now you know exactly where to park the next time you are in Diamond Creek.

Queenstown Cemetery

St Andrews AttractionsBack in the gold rush era of the 1850s the town of St Andrews was actually called Queenstown, and a cemetery was created on the edge of Smiths Gully to service the community. There is no existing map or plan of the cemetery and it has been left to future generations to slowly mark out the 380 burials at this site.

The earliest graves appear to be for the Chinese miners who were often buried here along with other itinerant workers in unmarked graves. It’s a hauntingly beautiful place to walk amongst the grave markings that vary from a simple outline of stone to more contemporary engraved stone monuments.

The names engraved on the tombstones are familiar to the local community as many of the descendants of these hardworking miners still live within the region.

Click here for directions.

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