You can still strike it rich in former gold-mining cities Bendigo and Ballarat with fabulous exhibitions and plenty of style.
Forget about ordering croissants in Bendigo, the latest buzzword is “Quantsants” in celebration of the new Mary Quant exhibition showcasing the work of the dynamic British fashion designer, who revolutionised fashion in
Cocktails have also been christened Quantails after Dame Mary Quant, who popularised miniskirts, colourful tailored trousers, patterned tights and angular hairstyles in swinging London.
Bendigo Art Gallery’s highly anticipated Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary comes directly from a sell-out season at London’s revered V&A,
or Victoria and Albert Museum.
Bendigo Art Gallery curator Emma Busowsky Cox says when she first saw the exhibition in London in 2019, she knew it would resonate with Australian audiences because of Quant’s multi-generational popularity and influence.
Step inside the exhibition and you’ll find more than 110 garments including accessories, cosmetics, sketches, photos and even Quant’s own line of fashion dolls, known as Daisy dolls – a rival to Barbie.
The exhibition explores the years between 1955 and 1975, when Quant started designing and making mass-produced, affordable high fashion.
It was a time when hemlines went up and the cost of high fashion came down.
Her designs were found in department stores Myer and Georges in Melbourne, Mark Foy’s in Sydney and FitzGerald’s in Hobart, or you could whip one up using a sewing machine and Butterick patterns.
Quant encouraged people to dress to please themselves and to enjoy fashion. Considered at the forefront of the women’s rights movement, she said in 2012: “I didn’t have time to wait for women’s lib.”
But it’s not only in the gallery where Quant stars, Bendigo and surrounding townships are joining in the fun in its restaurants, cafes, shopping strips and streetscapes.
An impressive Mary Quant-inspired mural by artist Bjarni Wark at the piazza in Bendigo’s Rosalind Park has become an Instagram hit. The massive, vivid circular artwork captures patterns associated with the sixties, paying homage to Mary Quant designs.
There are also Quant-themed daisy flower planter boxes, swinging street art and fashion trails, sixties exhibitions and sixties-inspired dishes at restaurants, plus high teas and movies from the sixties era.
Bendigo was recently named a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy for leading food and drink experiences with many Quant-inspired food and beverage experiences on offer.
• Sixties movies are screening at the historic Star Cinema in Eaglehawk.
• At Bendigo Pottery, you can paint a Mary Quant daisy-inspired plate.
• Neighbouring Inglewood, 45 kilometres northwest of Bendigo, has Mary Quant-themed window displays for vintage-fashion enthusiasts.
• For Mary Quantsants (croissants) head to Bluebird Patisserie.
• Fancy Mary Quantail-themed cocktails? Drop in to The Dispensary Bar & Diner or the Gallery Cafe. Or enjoy cocktails and drinks with a view at Nimbus Rooftop.
• Enjoy a seven-course degustation at hatted restaurant Masons of Bendigo.
• Try the southern European-inspired menu at Ms Batterhams, set in the basement of the old school hall at Mackenzie Quarters.
• Finish with a Mod Mess dessert at Harvest Food & Wine on View Street, or a 1960s-inspired dessert at The Woodhouse restaurant.
• Special Mary Quant packages are at: Barclay on View, Hotel Shamrock, Mark and Kate’s Place, Mercure Bendigo Schaller, Quality Hotel Lakeside, Quest Bendigo or Bendigo Central.
• While in Bendigo visit the Central Deborah Gold Mine, Bendigo Art Gallery, Golden Dragon Museum, Lake Weeroona and Bendigo Tramways.
Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary is on until 11 July 2021.
Lovers of art, food and wine are also in for a treat when the career of world-famous photographer Linda McCartney takes centre stage
at the 2021 Ballarat International Foto Biennale.
The Linda McCartney: Retrospective, curated by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, will feature more than 200 extraordinary never-displayed photographs, including images of the McCartney family and prints from their trips to Australia in 1975 and 1993.
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale’s artistic director and co-curator, Fiona Sweet, says McCartney often captured the subtle and fortuitous rather than the staged moments.
“Linda used the tools at her disposal to create moving and intimate portraits creating a new perspective in rock and roll photography. She captured the essence of those around her, providing insight into the personal lives of iconic artists and that of her family in later
life,” she says.
McCartney’s photographic career spanned from 1965 to 1997, during which time she saw the evolution of pop and youth culture.
Voted the US Female Photographer of the Year in 1967, McCartney was known for her portraits of Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, among many others.
She was the first female photographer whose work was featured as the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1968, with a portrait of Eric Clapton.
McCartney was an animal rights activist and a passionate advocate of a vegetarian lifestyle, often using her images to support the campaigns.
She continued to work prolifically as a photographer until her death from breast cancer in 1998.
You will see photographs of some of the most iconic artists and moments from the 1960s music scene as McCartney experienced it, representing the people, places and landscape around her.
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale has become the most significant and prestigious photographic arts festival in Australia. Held every two years, it features two major photographic programs plus outdoor and educational programs, workshops, artist talks, photo walks and awards, as well as prizes.
• You can get creative at Beck Davies Ceramics with workshops and pottery classes until 19 June 2021.
• Love truffles? Book a Taste of Truffles experience on June-August weekends at Black Cat Truffles, 20 minutes’ drive from Ballarat. Talk to the growers, see the truffle dogs in action, harvest the delicacy and sample a range of delicious truffle-infused treats.
• The 18th Amendment Bar serves a concoction of prohibition elegance interlaced with modern innovation.
• Try the gin, whisky and wine selections at Roy Hammond cocktail bar, as well as delicious Asian-inspired food and local art exhibits.
• Enjoy Italian with a modern twist at Ragazzone.
• Aunty Jacks is a brew pub serving craft beer, delicious food and hands-on experiences including its Craft Academy.
• Indulge in a new cellar-door tasting at Eastern Peake Winery, 25 kilometres north of Ballarat.
• Ballarat has a range of new accommodation to suit all budgets. Lyon House is a gothic inner-city home that pays homage to its eclectic past while incorporating modern luxurious finishes.
• The Provincial Hotel, built in 1909, is an iconic building recognised by the National Trust. There are 23 suites, each uniquely styled with a mix of bespoke antique, modern and custom pieces. Its restaurant is named after Lola Montez, one of the most-racy female characters of 19th-century Ballarat.
• Quest Ballarat Station has modern, spacious studios and apartments with
up to three bedrooms.
• While in Ballarat, visit Sovereign Hill, Lake Wendouree, Ballarat Wildlife Park, the Botanical Gardens, the Art Gallery of Ballarat and the Tramway Museum.
The 2021 Ballarat International Foto Biennale will be staged from August 28 to October 24.
Visit ballaratfoto.org for more information.