Art Gallery of Ballarat



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Art Gallery of Ballarat
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40 Lydiard St N
Ballarat Central

Works at Art Gallery of Ballarat

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The Art Gallery of Ballarat is 100% free of charge for regular exhibitions!  What else do you need?  If that isn’t enough of a selling point, the vast collection and rich history should convince you.

This is the oldest and largest regional gallery of art in Australia.  The elegant original building was erected in 1887 in honor of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and is an Australian heritage site.  The museum has kept up with the times, expanding to make room for a growing collection of modern art.  The expansions were planned so that each room would reflect the era of the art is houses.  Thus, passing from one section to the next is like time traveling through 200 years of Australian visual history, finishing with the austere, edgy contemporary wing.

The museum represents the spirit of Ballarat itself, which is sort of the San Francisco of Australia.  The region was the site of a massive Gold Rush in 1851 (just two years after the start of the California Gold Rush), and Ballarat sprang up as a rough and tumble boomtown.  Much like San Francisco it attracted a motley crew of drunks, gamblers, gunfighters, and prostitutes.  In fact, many miners came to Ballarat from the California goldfields seeking better fortune.  These transplants became known as “Ballafornians.” 

Ballarat was the site of Australia’s only armed rebellion, the Eureka Rebellion, in which miners rose up against civil authority in 1854.  The original rebel flag, “The Eureka Flag” is on display in the Gallery.

Also like San Francisco, after the gold boom was over the nouveau riche elite transformed Ballarat from a mining camp into a beautiful Victorian metropolis and artistic Mecca dubbed “Athens of Australia.”  The Art Gallery of Ballarat was the crowning jewel of this movement, and remains so today.

If you’re still not sold, the collection features some naughty nudes by Australia’s favorite erotic painter, Norman Lindsay.  Much of Lindsay’s work was shipped to the USA for safekeeping during World War II, where American authorities confiscated and burned it during a train inspection, thinking it was pornography.  Haters gotta hate.  Luckily, some of his babilicious beauties survive in the Art Gallery of Ballarat for peeping eyes to see.


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Here is what Wikipedia says about Art Gallery of Ballarat

The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the oldest and largest regional art gallery in Australia. Established in 1884 as the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery by the citizens of Ballarat, both the building and part of its collection is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and by the National Trust of Victoria.

The gallery was the notable home of the original Eureka Flag (the Gallery has since lent the flag to the Eureka Centre - Home of the Eureka Flag at 102 Stawell Street South, Ballarat) and houses major collections covering the history of Australian art from the early colonial period to the present day.

For the first five years of the gallery's life, the Association rented the large supper room of the Ballarat Academy of Music, now Her Majesty's Theatre, which was made available by Sir William Clarke, 1st Baronet. The Association then worked to secure land on the site of the Government Camp and to raise funds for a permanent home for its collection. Much of the energy and the money came from a prominent Ballarat citizen, James Oddie. The current building is the oldest purpose built art gallery building in Australia. Designed by Tappin, Gilbert and Dennehy in the Renaissance Revival architecture style as a bluestone brick and render facade and stone stairway, the foundation stone was laid by Sir William Clarke in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The new building was opened by Alfred Deakin on Friday 13 June 1890.

The gallery is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, of which the City of Ballarat is the sole shareholder. It is administered by a board of directors. Louise Tegart is the current Director.

The gallery is supported by the Art Gallery of Ballarat Foundation, which raises funds and receives donations on behalf of the gallery and by the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery Association, an independent organisation which established the gallery in 1884 and gave it to the Ballaarat City Council in 1972. Membership of the Association is open to members of the public and brings with it a range of benefits, including discounts at the gallery shop and cafe and invitations to exhibition openings.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Art Gallery of Ballarat.