Founded in 1884, the Art Gallery of Ballarat is the oldest and largest regional art gallery of Australia. It houses collections covering over 120 years of Australian art history apart from many prized works by international artists.
As the name suggests, the Gallery is based in Ballarat, less than a two-hour drive from Melbourne. The positioning of the Gallery is like a feather in the cap of this renowned historical city.
The Gallery is famous for housing the original Eureka Flag - the battle flag used at Eureka Stockade (a gold miners' revolt in 1854 in Ballarat). It is a state heritage symbol and a major attraction of the display. The Gallery also has an impressive collection of rare 18th and 19th century publications detailing the sea voyages of 'discovery' by Europeans and early expeditions on land and sea after the settlement of Australia.
Highlights of the permanent collection include works by artists such as Paul Signac, Phillip Connard, Lucien Simon, John Bratby, Henry Moore, Sidney Nolan, Clarice Beckett, Arthur Boyd, Rupert Bunny, William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, Rick Amor among many others. The collection is presented in the order of date (from 1887 to 2001). You can even browse the collection online for specific pieces.
Apart from this impressive and exhaustive fixture, the gallery has a dynamic exhibition program that ensures there's always something new in store. The AGB (Art Gallery of Ballarat) also conducts events such as music concerts, stand-up comedy shows, talks, workshops and more. You can check out the ongoing and forthcoming exhibitions and events online.
The Gallery conducts a host of education programs and activities contrived for students at different levels of education, community and youth groups and educators. Its education program for students meets Victorian curriculum requirements. These workshops are designed to boost visual literacy, creative thinking, communication skills and extend knowledge of the unique collection and other exhibitions.
There's an interesting 'Adopt an Artwork' initiative which lets you fund the upkeep of your favourite art piece in the gallery. And don't forget to visit the art shop (within the Gallery) to bring back a souvenir or a gift for a friend.
The AGB is open daily, except Christmas Day, and conducts free guided tours. Admission to the permanent collection is free; however, prices may apply to special exhibitions. For details check out the exhibitions and events pages.
It's an incredible place to visit over a weekend. The fact that there's much more to see and do in Ballarat is just happenstance.