Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published October 6th 2019
So Beautiful, the Artists Won't Stay Away
Fish Creek is a small town with around 800 residents that punches well above its weight for points of interest. The settlement started here in the late 1800s when the town was a railway station on the South Gippsland line. Today, surrounded by a picturesque natural landscape Fish Creek not only caters for lovers of the great outdoors, but it is also renowned for its authors, artists and art galleries. When we visited kookaburras were laughing in the treetops and we were able to get a few photos.
Pubic artworks - A giant mosaic fish rotating atop a pole - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
You know an area is beautiful when it draws more than its fair share of artists. Fish Creek is such a place. The galleries are welcoming places where you can browse or buy. Nobody will rush you or pressure you here. Relax and enjoy the artworks. With eight different galleries in town, you will need time.
Fish Creek is around a two and a quarter-hour trip from the Melbourne CBD via the South Gippsland Highway and is a detour from either Meeniyan or Foster. Enter 17 Falls Road, Fish Creek into your GPS and you'll end up at the town centre. The town is only 45 minutes from Wilsons Promontory. It is a detour well worth the taking. If you can be tempted to stay longer accommodation is available. The Arthouse, Sabrelyn Park and Fish Creek Farmview Cottages are self-contained holiday accommodation. Alkira Studio Accommodation offers two motel-style studio rooms. The Fish Creek Hotel offers motel units at the rear.
Falls Road Fish Creek viewed from the park - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Galleries
The Alison Lester Gallery and Bookshop. Alison Lester is a renowned writer and illustrator of children's books. At the gallery and bookshop, you will find a reading library for the children, including a selection of Alison's books in foreign languages. Learn how Alison develops here books from the display of Alison's preliminary working drawings and sketches. There are limited edition prints on display and for sale, as well as greeting cards and wrapping paper. Visit Alison's website for more details of the gallery and bookshop and of Alison's work.
Roland Harvey Fishy Gallery. Roland Harvey is a writer and illustrator of children's book and you might find him at work in the gallery. There are books and cards for sale along with original artwork and limited edition prints. The gallery is at the top end of the main street (Falls Road). Roland can be contacted on 0419 311 231. Visit Roland's website or Facebook page for more details.
Gecko Studio Gallery. This gallery run by Kerry Spokes and Michael Lester, features different exhibitions throughout the year. The gallery offers a framing service if required. The gallery, which has its own cafe is at 15 Falls Road. It is open from 9am to 4pm Thursday to Monday, or 7 days a week in January. They can be contacted on (03) 5683 2481. Visit their website for more details.
The Gecko Studio Gallery - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
Celia Rosser Gallery and Cafe. Clelia Rosser is an internationally renowned botanical illustrator. Celia's banksia illustrations are a key feature eat the gallery. You are welcome to browse or to buy. You might like to pick up a gift made from banksia wood in the shop. Enjoy a drink or a snack at the Banksia café. The gallery at 1791 Meeniyan-Promontory Rd is normally open from 10am to 4pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They can be contacted on 0455 777 334. Click on their website for more details.
Ride the Wild Goat is the gallery and workshop of Andrew McPherson. Andrew creates art from what others might discard. He also carves and sculpts from beautiful woods. A versatile artist he creates sculptures, furniture, jewellery, lights, paintings, photographs and wall pieces. The gallery at 5 Falls Road can be contacted on (03) 5683 2661. Visit Andrew's website for more details.
Ride the Wild Goat Gallery - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
Fish Creek Hotel Art Space displays exhibitions focussed on large contemporary art predominantly by artists who have a connection to the area. The exhibitions are changed every quarter. Check their website for current exhibitions.
The Stefani Hilltop Gallery features the work of Biance Biesuz-Stefani who specialises in landscape and seascape in varied media. The gallery at 39 Keanes Road is open by appointment and can be contacted on (03) 5683 2253.
People Places Things is a photographic business which maintains a gallery at 11 Falls Road. They can be contacted on 0418 508 392.
Peoples, Places, Things Gallery - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
The RSL Garden. When we visited Fish Creek we met a lady outside the RSL who explained that the roses at the cenotaph and at the RSL are only red or white. The red represents the bloodshed at war and the white represents the nurses who looked after the wounded. The gardens in the RSL have been created and are tended monthly by young men on corrections orders. They made a Vietnam memorial garden at the back of the yard with a white cross. To the side, they created a garden with a heart and a tear laid out in rocks. On the sidewall of the RSL are steel sculptures representing the Lighthorse.
The gardens at the Fish Creek RSL - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
The John Terrill Memorial Park sits across the street from art galleries and coffee shops on Falls Road. Here you will find the town's cenotaph rimmed by a garden of red and white roses. Behind that is a child's playground with a wooden fort and variety of climbing and balancing equipment. Well-kept lawns run-up to majestic trees and border flower gardens. There are covered and open-air picnic tables and public toilets. Off-street parking is available around the cenotaph at the font of the park. The park extends to the east and wraps around the Great Southern Rail Trail.
Lawns at the John Terrill Memorial Park - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
The Handmakers Store is a craft collective where you will find a wide variety of local made crafts and homewares as well as craft supplies and tools. Choose from wares such as beeswax wraps, wheat heat packs, locally spun yarn, natural balms and salves, hand-knitted gloves and socks, and so much more. The store runs craft workshops; a relaxing interlude perhaps, on your next holiday. The store at 17 Falls Road, Fish Creek is open from 10qam to 3pm and can be contacted on 0407 543 371. Check their Facebook page for more details.
Public Artworks. In keeping with Fish Creek's standing as an arts town are its public artworks. Outside the Gecko Studio Gallery is a mosaic bench seat featuring a fish set in ornate metalwork on the back and an ocean scene with a boat on the seat. Then there is a giant mosaic fish rotating atop a pole next door to the old Butter Factory building. In front of that, a distinctive wooden seat with a high back and diagonal armrests is painted with waves, fish, a crab and starfish.
Public art works in Fish Creek - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
The Giant Mullett and the Fish Creek Hotel. The hotel was built in 1939 and is a wonderful example of the art deco style. Its claim to fame comes in the form of a giant mullet mounted on the roof. The fish sculpture by Colin Suggett was first mounted on the hotel in 1989. It is made of aluminium, galvanised metal and fibre glass on a light steel frame. By 2013 the fish was in need of repair and was restored by the artist. The hotel at 1 Old Waratah Road, Fish Creek and can be contacted (03) 5683 2404 and is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
The giant mullet sculpture mounted on top of the Fish Creek Hotel - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
The Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival first run in 2015, ensures the art of making tea cosies has not faded away with the advent of tea bags. The festival runs in May each year and in 2020 will be held from the 16th to the 24th of May. The 2020 theme is Cosies through the Ages. Tea cosy making competitions are held and prizes awarded in several categories. The closing date for 2020 entries is 8th May. Check the website for more details and to download entry forms.
Will your entry be as bright as this giant cosy (Photo from Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival Facebook Page)
The Prom Coast Festival began in 2007 and is run in March each year across a number of Gippsland towns of which Fish Creek is one. In 2019 in addition to opening its galleries Fish Creek hosted a Children's Literature Day. The Literature Day included Rail Trail Story Time, workshops, and author and illustrator talks. They ran a Community Bake-Off in the Fish Creek Hall, light projections at dusk, a Great Paper Plane Fly Off and a makers market.
The Great Outdoors
Mount Nicoll Lookout located between Foster and Fish Creek offers sweeping views of Wilsons Promontory and Corner Inlet. The turbines of the Toora Windfarm are visible and like them or hate them they are a spectacle. The walking track to the lookout is accessed from Fish Creek-Foster Road and then Mount Nicoll Road which is a steep, unmade road. The walk to the lookout is only 200m and is rated of medium difficulty. Visit the website for more details and a map.
The Hoddle Mountain Trail runs for 17 kilometres and is rated hard for level of difficulty. This six hour circuit walk is one for experienced hikers. This trail is a detour from the Great Southern Rail Trail in Fish Creek. It runs past the Mount Nicholl Lookout and re-joins the rail trail near Hoddle Lookout. Click here for the detailed Hoddle Mountain Trail brochure.
The Great Southern Rail Trail in Fish Creek - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
The Paddock offers a full breakfast and lunch menu and is also a second-hand book store. This is a quaint but rustic café with a variety of table and chairs. We enjoyed good coffee and cake in this relaxing environment. The café located at 17 Falls Road is open most days from 8am to 2pm and can be contacted on 0424 645 813. To learn more check out their Facebook Page.
Gibsons Licensed Café and Larder offers breakfast and lunch. If it's just a snack you're after indulge yourselves with a selection of cakes, croissants and brownies. Relax with a coffee or tea or quench your thirst with a wine or beer. The larder is stocked with chutneys, jams and preserves. The café is located at 9 Falls Road and can be contacted on (03) 5683 2593. For more details and the menu jump over to their Facebook Page.
KO Bar and Grill features Gippsland produce and wines and offers in-house dining or takeaways. The café at 2 Old Waratah Rd is open from 11am to 8pm, Wednesday to Sunday and can be contacted on (03) 5683 2207. Check out their menu on their website.
The Fish Creek Hotel runs a bistro offering hearty meals of local seasonal produce and Gippsland wines. Booking is recommended. There is a bar menu for casual dining and an outdoor beer garden. The hotel at 1 Old Waratah Road, Fish Creek and can be contacted (03) 5683 2404 and is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. See their website for more details.
The Fish Creek Hotel built in the Art Deco style in 1939 - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
Gecko Studio Gallery has its own café and take my advice, don't leave without sampling the cakes. The gallery, at 15 Falls Road is open from 9am to 4pm Thursday to Monday, or 7 days a week in January. They can be contacted on (03) 5683 2481. Visit their website for more details.
I will never forget Fish Creek Gayle. On my first solo navigation exercise in November 1968, Fish Creek was my first turning point after leaving Moorabbin Airport. In a superb feat of navigation I found this small dot on the map and lived to tell the tale. Neil.
Great round up of Fishy! Thereâ€™s been a few little changes since you were there (things move quickly!)... the Paddock moved to the space formerly occupied by KO bar and grill (2 old Waratah Rd) the HandMakers Store moved to where The Paddock was (17 Falls Rd). Both have embraced their new spaces. And google maps has let us down, Terrill Park is where the footy ground and bowls club is, the park between the rail trail and Falls Road is unofficially referred to as the park or the town common.