Art Gallery of Ballarat
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the oldest and largest gallery in regional Australia. The Gallery offers a range of experiences, from exploring the history of Australian art in its stunning permanent collection to seeing some exciting new art in temporary exhibitions. There's always something new to see, to do and to experience.
We have an exciting range of events - come to a concert in our beautiful gallery spaces, or catch a lunchtime talk and learn more about the amazing world of art or get busy making art with one of our creative workshops.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat houses major collections covering the history of Australian art from the early colonial period to the present day.
The collection is presented in a series of rooms ranging in date from 1887 to current, enabling the works to be displayed in rooms appropriate to their era. The oldest part of the building, which was specially constructed as a purpose-built gallery between 1887 and 1890, conveys the opulence of the 1880s Boom era, while the most recent extension, with its clean lines and subtle use of natural light, enhances the display of the contemporary collection.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat has one of the most comprehensive collections of Australian paintings in the nation. The works featured here are just a small selection from a holding that extends from convict artists of Van Diemen's Land to the present day. Virtually every movement or trend that has come to the fore since the colonial era is represented.
The Gallery started actively collecting works of art in the late 1880s even before it had a building to call home. For the most part the early acquisitions were paintings and the majority of these were works by British artists, with a small number of paintings from Continental Europe. This holding has been augmented substantially over time with occasional gifts and bequests and there was a final concerted attempt to acquire important British and French works in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s under the influence of Daryl Lindsay, the Creswick-born Director of the National Gallery of Victoria.
Rare Books Collection
The Art Gallery of Ballarat has a very fine holding of Rare Books - thanks largely to the benefactions of the Honourable Richard Crouch and Sir Allan and Lady Currie. The Crouch donations include medieval manuscripts and early printed books while the Currie collection focusses on volumes which illustrate the European exploration and settlement of the South Pacific region - including Australia.
A small selection of works from the permanent collection are available online: artgalleryofballarat.com.au/exhibitions-and-events/collection
Café & Gallery Shop
Take time out to indulge your senses at Sweet Decadence at the Gallery, the Gallery's café. The Sweet Decadence name will be familiar to visitors to Daylesford, where Sweet Decadence at Locantro was the first coffee shop in Daylesford and the first handmade chocolate shop in country Victoria.
In the café at the Gallery, you'll find the same quality produce, coffee and chocolates as well as delicious food made from locally sourced ingredients, providing visitors with a local, country experience. One that is different from what they would see and taste anywhere else.
It's the perfect place to take time out during your visit to the Art Gallery of Ballarat.
Spend time in the Gallery Shop for that unique and unusual gift or memento of your visit. The shop has a great range of art books, gifts, postcards and exhibition catalogues and gallery postcards, as well as a selection of works by local jewellery makers and ceramic artists.
We have a great range of designer gifts including jewellery & accessories by Elk, Me Olde China, Angus & Celeste, Kai Kai, Ruby Pilven, Mattt, Mekko, B.sirius, D/Lux and ceramics by Peter Pilven, John O'Loughlin, Barry Wemyss, Kath Wratten, Koji Hoashi plus a fantastic range of children's toys and books. Browse through the shop whilst your children try out our brilliant range of children's art supplies in the Kids Corner.
Become a member and save. Gallery Association Members receive a 20% discount on purchases made in the Shop. Free gift wrapping also available.
At the Gallery Shop you can buy catalogues from our current exhibitions as well as a tremendous range of catalogues from past exhibitions, including catalogues published by the Gallery and only available at our shop.
Getting to the Gallery
Ballarat is situated just over an hour's drive on the Western Freeway from Melbourne.
Visitors arriving by air into Melbourne can continue on to Ballarat by taking the Ballarat Airport Shuttle Bus, which runs a number of daily services. Bookings are recommended.
V/Line runs trains daily to Ballarat from Southern Cross Station (formerly Spencer Street Station), Melbourne. Travel time is around one and half hours' but with the construction of the fast train network on the Ballarat line this time has been reduced significantly for peak usage trains.