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Art, Opera, City Lights: Your Autumn Must-Do List

Visit Ballarat

06 Feb 2024

Filed underSee & Do

Ballarat’s cultural events calendar will make your arty heart skip a beat this autumn.

From after-hours art to a Wadawurrung opera performed on Country for the first time, there’s a myriad of exhibitions, outdoor projections, workshops and curiosities to enjoy. If this list of stellar events isn’t enough to get you on the road, we have news for you. We’re farewelling the season with a Ballarat special edition of White Night. If that doesn’t make your Instagram happy, we don’t know what will.

Art Late featuring Gut Health, Art Gallery of Ballarat (Image by Love Drum Creative)
  • Nan Goldin, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (2 March – 2 June), Art Gallery of Ballarat
  • Lost In Palm Springs (4 May – 1 September), Art Gallery of Ballarat
  • Art Late (11 May, 15 June, 13 July), a curated series of late-night encounters at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, with live music paired with after hours exhibition entry. Stay for supper, sweets and drinks until lights out. Tickets includes supper (and there is a band-only ticket if you’re kicking on elsewhere).
  • Perridak Arts (open Tues– Saturday), art gallery owned and operated by Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative.
  • Ross Creek Gallery (open Saturday and Sunday), hosts recent ceramic and 2D artworks by Ruby Pilven and Janine Ronaldson as well as rotating exhibitions by local artists.
  • For an outdoor art hop, explore Ballarat’s self-guided Historic Streetscapes, Public Art Walks and slow-travel style Hidden Laneways tour.

Live Music: From Opera to Folk

Parrwang Lifts the Sky

Ballarat’s art-deco style Civic Hall plays host to some of the biggest live music acts and performances in the city. Here’s just a few highlights:

  • An Evening with Vika and Linda Bull (11 May), beloved vocal duo known for their work with the Black Sorrows, Paul Kelly, Kasey Chambers, and more.
  • Parrwang Lifts the Sky Victorian Opera (24 May), a Wadawurrung Opera proudly performed on Country for the first time as part of the Ballarat Heritage Festival.
  • See what else is coming up at Civic Hall this autumn.

Behind the Scenes and Back in Time

Norse Inspired Jewellery Workshop at the Rare Trades Centre.

Situated across the road from Sovereign Hill, the Rare Trades Centre is a place for artisans and tradespeople to preserve their endangered crafts. Join a weekend workshop and learn the art of lead lighting, armoury, paint-making, Wadawurrung weaving, signwriting, sewing your own corset and much more.

The centre also houses the impressive Goldrush Collections, where you can take a tour behind the scenes (and back in time). There are three different tours to choose from, Treasures of the Collection, Fashion and Textiles, and Chinese Collections, departing on Wednesdays, Fridays and selected Saturdays.

For the full immersive experience, return in the evening for the sound and light show, AURA, which transforms Sovereign Hill into a moving theatre once the sun goes down.

Ballarat Heritage Festival

Steam Train journeys as part of the Ballarat Heritage Festival

From 17–26 May, the Ballarat Heritage Festival returns with a bumper program filled with rare trades, vintage cars, steam train rides, tweed, and more. Cap off your festival evenings with Monuments, a nightly video installation along Sturt Street by Australian artist Craig Walsh. Moving images projected onto trees will explore the synergy between the human form and the natural environment with subjects depicted drawn from Ballarat’s past.

White Night Ballarat

White Night

Mark Friday 1 June in your diaries for the much-anticipated return of White Night.

In a Victorian exclusive, the spectacular showcase of projections, performances, music and interactive works will take over the city’s streets and laneways.

Book your beds. Tag your local relos. Gather your V/Line possie. Check out the White Night website for the full program.

Stays with a Heritage Twist

Mount Mitchell Estate

If you’re staying over for the weekend, treat yourself to a plush historic room at The Provincial Hotel, Hotel Vera or Craig’s Royal Hotel.

For a rural getaway, head to the hills of Lexton and settle into a cosy cottage at the National Trust listed Mount Mitchell Estate.

You can even go off-grid at a tiny home at Mooramong Estate. While these cabins are circa 2023, the estate’s country house dates back to the 1860s (if you’re already a National Trust member, be sure to make use of your discounts).

Browse the What’s On calendar for more workshops, exhibitions and events happening in Ballarat and surrounds.

Across Victoria’s Midwest, we acknowledge that we travel across the ancient landscapes of many First Peoples communities.

These lands have been nurtured and cared for over tens of thousands of years and we respect the work of Traditional Custodians for their ongoing care and protection.

We recognise the past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. As our knowledge grows, we hope that we can learn from their resilience and creativity that has guided them for over 60,000 years.

As we invite people to visit and explore Victoria’s Midwest, we ask that alongside us, you also grow to respect the stories, living culture and connection to Country of the Ancestors and Elders of our First Peoples.