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Palmer Sculpture Biennial 2016

Home > Adelaide > Art | Exhibitions | Free | Outdoor | Weekend Escapes
by Kat May (subscribe)
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Go somewhere different to see something spectaclar
Way over the hills and not too far away, there is something special has been in the making for this year's Fringe in the visual arts category. Palmer is the next town after Birdwood and is on the far side of the Lofty Ranges where the wide plains and rocky paddocks start the expanse down to the Murray River.

Palmer Sculpture Biennial 2016
Palmer is located on the Mt Lofty Ranges east of Adelaide. Image by Out and About.

This outdoor exhibition space is held on the property of artist Greg Johns. The event is held every two years and has public admission only on selected dates during the Fringe Festival. This year 22 artists from interstate, South Australia and a guest artist from Sweden will bring us some visual treats for the eyes.

Artists are invited to participate in this outdoor exhibit and spend many weeks and months preparing their artwork. Many stay in the area while working on their sculpture, usually at the 'local', being the Palmer Hotel. This pub has for many years supported this event with free lodgings for the artists. The artists then go out to the property of artist and work during the day.

Palmer Sculpture Biennial 2016
Palmer Hotel is located on the main road from Adelaide. Image by Out and About.

When traveling to the town of Palmer via Birdwood, you will reach the cross roads in the photo above, and see the hotel. From here you will see a sign to get you to the exhibit. Do plan to spend some time at this classic heritage pub and have a drink and a relax after the walk around the sculptures. They have done a lot to support this event over the years and also helped me with some information for this article. Meals will be served at lunchtime from 12noon to 2pm on the days the event is on. For enquiries call the hotel on 8569 4054, as it was just about to be sold when I stopped by. The new owner is a chef and will surely be doing something in the way of meals during the sculpture openings.

Palmer Sculpture Biennial 2016
A work to be seen at the 2016 exhibit. Image courtesy of

Get out to the area early so you have plenty of time to walk around the property to see the sculptures. The property is high on an escarpment, and it is a rocky and dusty ground. Please wear enclosed footwear, and watch where you are walking. A light jacket may be needed for late afternoon, as winds can pick up over the hills here. Perhaps take a small backpack with some water, and your hat and head off to explore.

A special day will be held on the Grand Opening Day on Saturday March 5. Gates open from 12 noon -7 pm. The official opening is at 1pm, then wander the sculptures. Later fantastic bluesy music acts and artists will perform at the Verandah Music Event from 4pm, at a cost of $10.

Viewing of the sculptures are also at these other times: Weekends 11am- 6pm or Wednesday afternoons, which would be nice and peaceful, from 2-5.30 pm. This program continues until Sunday April 3, 2016.

Palmer Sculpture Biennial 2016
David Higgins sculpture 'Sky Canoe' was shown at a past event. Image courtesy of

This is no ordinary art show. This land is a sacred place, and the rugged beauty of the land and the incredible views over the plains towards the Murray are breathtaking. Whenever I see the view from this area, I feel I have escaped the city and can breathe. If you have never seen this part of our State and all within close distance to Adelaide, come for a drive and experience the wonder and unique art that is the Palmer Sculpture Biennial.
Read more about The Palmer Project here and the work of artist Greg Johns.

Palmer Sculpture Biennial 2016
The sculptures by night would be a wonderful sight, but alas not open to the public at twighlight. Image courtesy of
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Why? Because Adelaide loves the arts.
When: Weekends from March 5th to April 3rd. Also Wednesday afternoons.
Where: 372 Davenport Road, 3.5kms from the Palmer Hotel intersection
Cost: Free entry.
Your Comment
What a find, thanks for bringing this to my attention.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4159) 1679 days ago
Great article. Palmer is the best sculpture event on the SA calendar although closely followed by Heysen :)
by Caroline Lloyd (score: 1|75) 1668 days ago
The area is rugged & steep in areas which prevented my husband & I seeing all of the sculptures but the ones we saw were very good. Many thanks to David & Steve for their support with 4 wheel driving us up to the main area of sculptures & back down again, very much appreciated.
by vcoom (score: 0|2) 1648 days ago
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