An Art Lover's Guide to Ballarat, Australia

Ballarat, Australia, is rapidly becoming a regional arts hub
Ballarat, Australia, is rapidly becoming a regional arts hub | © Thomas Cockrem / Alamy Stock Photo
Monique La Terra

With a thriving cultural community, Ballarat is rapidly becoming a regional arts hub. The town is not only home to a renowned artist whose work you’ll see in Buckingham Palace, UK, but it also maintains Australia’s oldest and largest regional art gallery. Visit the city’s multiple galleries and exhibition spaces, which are located only 1.5 hours outside of Melbourne’s CBD.

1. Art Gallery of Ballarat

Art Gallery, Building

Founded in 1884, the Art Gallery of Ballarat is Australia’s oldest and largest regional gallery. Located in a heritage-listed building, this not-for-profit gallery houses art pieces from colonial to contemporary periods across paintings, sculptures, works on paper and ceramics – all of which showcase the history of Australian art. Organised by era, the collection also features the work of local and regional artists, depicting the growth of Ballarat and indigenous work.

2. Archibald Prize

Art Gallery

First awarded in 1921, the Archibald Prize is the most prestigious portraiture award in Australia. Resident Australian artists are invited to paint portrayals of the who’s who in Australian culture, such as men and women distinguished in art, letters, science or politics. Previous winners include Louise Hearman and her portrait of Barry Humphries titled Barryand Betina Fauvel-Ogden’s George Calombaris.

3. James Egan Gallery

Art Gallery

With artwork that’s been featured at the Buckingham Palace in London, UK, San Francisco Airport, the World Trade Center in New York and the deputy prime ministers office, James Egan is one of Australia’s most illustrious artists. In his gallery studio, Egan still paints, and on display are collections including landscapes, people, Australian birds and Ned Kelly. A trip to the gallery may even result in an encounter with the artist himself.

4. The Lost Ones

Art Gallery

“A place to find the odd, the amusing and the interesting,” The Lost Ones is a contemporary art gallery which prides itself on salvaging lost arts and crafts and championing forgotten voices. Located in a Masonic temple, which dates back to the early 1870s, The Lost Ones is a place for exhibitions, performances, art classes and workshops that hope to pass on endangered art skills and techniques, such as lace making, making dyes from plants, bookbinding and more.

5. Gallery on Sturt

Art Gallery

Gallery on Sturt is a retail art gallery featuring the work of local and regional artists, as well as original and limited edition artwork from distinguished Australian and European artists. Exhibitions rotate on a monthly basis, and the gallery includes 2D and 3D work. Sturt also provides custom framing and fine-art printing services, all of which is done on-site.

6. The Post Office Gallery

Post Office, University

As a part of the University of Ballarat Arts Academy, the Post Office Gallery is an educational resource that showcases artwork from the students and staff of FedUni’s Arts Academy, as well as local and emerging Australian artists. Dating back to 1909, the collection includes paintings, graphics, contemporary prints, ceramics and sculptures.

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