Writer/photographer (& coffee snob), living in Melbourne's inner west. Visit www.insiteimages.com.au for more photos.
Published January 26th 2016
In a seaside town, I buy a 1920s fur collar
You don't have to go far from Melbourne to find a quieter place and pace, with enough to do or not do, depending on your frame of mind! I felt like an 'art fix', a browse and a good coffee and we managed all three in an afternoon. An hour and a half's drive from Melbourne, you're in Queenscliff, the 19th century jewel on the Bellarine Peninsula.
Seaview Gallery, 86 Hesse Street, Queenscliff: The drawcard for this trip was Emma Hack's exhibition "Bloom" at Seaview Gallery. You may not recognise the name, but the penny will drop when I tell you she was the artist who did the body-art painting on singers Gotye and Kimbra, in the film clip to the huge hit "Somebody that I used to know". In this show Emma has limited edition prints of photographs taken of her finished work, involving a model's body painted to blend in (or to emerge) from the background. Think of looking at an elaborate floral wallpaper pattern and then realising there is a woman in it as well! You can also view other contemporary art works on display including, jewellery and sculpture.
Exhibition continues to 31st Jan. Open 7 days 10.30 – 5.
We admired the art, going from room to room, then into a surprisingly large beautiful dining room, from which you could enter the Seaview Guest House B&B next door. Definitely worth a stay or a meal next time.
Across the road from the quaint seaside cottage feel of Seaview Gallery is Salt, a contemporary art space of polished concrete and gallery downstairs. Ben Shearer's landscapes warm the large white gallery walls, with vivid reds and blues of the outback including scenes, such as "Beyond Uluru" (watercolour on paper), where tracks lead from the foreground through the scrub towards monumental Uluru shimmering on the horizon. They are not 'literal' works but their subject matter is distinctively of the location. Exhibition continues to 31st Jan. Open Fri – Mon 11 - 5
Geelong Vintage Market Hobsons' Specialty Galleries & Courtyard, 2 Hobsons Street, Queenscliff: Just around the corner from Hesse St, this rambling gallery/vintage store leads to a garden café out the back. An eclectic mix of art is displayed throughout the historic building (note the cherubs on the ceiling), which on the day we visited included photography, large canvases, as well as sculptures. I admired the range of art on display but ended up buying a fur collar from the well-stocked vintage shop! The quality of the collar is amazing and it looks like something (and possibly is) from the 1920s or '30s… an appropriate accessory for a cocktail evening upstairs at Salt!
The Courtyard Café, 3/58 Hesse Street, Queenscliff: There are plenty of 'pit stops' amongst the galleries, boutiques and homewares shops lining Hesse Street. We were enticed into The Courtyard Café by a long narrow passageway leading off Hesse Street, to a welcoming dining area, flowing through to an outside garden (hidden from street-view of course!). Simple lunch and breakfast fare is on offer, all fresh, with friendly service and I can report, excellent coffee.
The Courtyard Cafe, down the passage & out the back!
After our day absorbed in art and discovering hidden gems in Queenscliff, we stopped by the well-known Vue Grand hotel to admire its Victorian interior of tessellated tiles, soaring etched , coloured glass arch windows, to stick our noses into the grand dining room (another place for wearing a fur collar!) and soak up the atmosphere. Something new (to us) though at Vue Grand: A roof-top bar! Completing our day with a glass of local wine atop the grandest hotel, admiring the grand views, we marvelled at another 'hidden' gem found in this seaside town.