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Skywhales FAQs

Visit Ballarat

29 Jun 2022

Filed underNews

PLEASE NOTE: Due to unsuitable weather conditions on Saturday 9 July, ‘Skywhales: Every Heart Sings’ has been postponed to Sunday 10 July.   

Here’s everything you need to know about Skywhales: Every Heart Sings at Ballarat’s Eastern Oval.

What is Skywhales: Every Heart Sings?

Two monumental skywhale sculptures in the form of hot air balloons will rise into the sky above Ballarat as part of the Ballarat Winter Festival.

Skywhale (2013) and Skywhalepapa (2020) are the work of renowned Australian artist Patricia Piccinini, who says “Skywhales: Every Heart Sings is a project that talks about nature, family, evolution, care and wonder. The skywhales float into our lives and make us smile and think”.

Skywhales: Every Heart Sings is a National Gallery of Australia Touring Event, made possible thanks to the generosity of  The Naomi Milgrom Foundation and Visions of Australia. 

It is the third instalment of The Balnaves Contemporary Series and is a Know My Name project.

The Ballarat event is presented by the Art Gallery of Ballarat and is supported by the City of Ballarat as part of the Ballarat Winter Festival.

Patricia Piccinini, Skywhale, 2013, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, © Patricia Piccinini

When and where?

Skywhales: Every Heart Sings will be held at Eastern Oval, Ballarat, at sunrise on Sunday 10 July as part of the Ballarat Winter Festival.

At 6.15am, the gates to Eastern Oval will open so visitors can ensure they get their chosen spot to witness the launch.

Please be aware that there may be queues for parking and at the gates so we advise being at the event no later than 7am.

At 7am, the event will start with the inflation of the balloons.

Proceedings will include:

  • Welcome to Country
  • Introduction from Patricia Piccinini
  • Live performance of the Every Heart Sings song by Jess Green (AKA Pheno) and her band, together with a Ballarat children’s choir under the guidance of local musician Stella Savy
  • Skywhale and Skywhalepapa will launch into the sky at sunrise

Where will the Skywhales balloons fly?

The Skywhales will be launched from Eastern Oval, however where they will fly will depend on which way the wind is blowing on the morning of the event.

What happens if the weather is bad?

If the weather is poor, it may be unsafe to launch the skywhales.

If this is the case, the launch will be postponed to a later date.

You can register for launch updates on the Art Gallery of Ballarat website.

Do I need to book or purchase tickets?

Entry to the launch is free but you are encouraged to register via artgalleryofballarat.com.au for updates on the weather, launch details and any potential rescheduling of this event due to poor weather.

Patricia Piccinini, Skywhale, 2013 and Skywhalepapa, 2020, © Patricia Piccinini

Where can I park near Eastern Oval?

Vehicles will not be permitted to enter the oval grounds.

If you are early, you may find parking:

  • in the Ebden Street Reserve, off Scott Parade, to the west of the old Haymes Paint building
  • at the Ballarat Train Station car park, a multi-level facility accessible from Nolan Street
  • in the streets around Eastern Oval

There will be designated accessible parking on Davies Street via Scott Parade. Traffic controllers will be on duty to assist.

What do I need to bring with me?

Please make sure you wear warm waterproof clothing and waterproof shoes.

We advise you to bring a torch as it will be dark and you may be walking on uneven ground to access the oval.

Can I ride in a skywhale?

No. The skywhales balloons can only be experienced from the ground (which is amazing!).

Will there be food and drink available at the oval?

Yes. There will be coffee available for purchase from Bean Me Up – Mobile Espresso and Blue Wren Coffee; pancakes by Rotary Wendouree Breakfast supported by The Pancake Kitchen Ballarat; as well as pastries from 1816 Bakehouse.

Can I bring my dog to the event?

You may bring your dog to the event if it is well behaved and on a short leash. Owners must pick up after their dog.

Please note that dogs are not permitted on the grassed oval.

Main image: Patricia Piccinini, Skywhalepapa, 2020 and Skywhale, 2013, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, © Patricia Piccinini.

Ballarat Winter Festival

From 25 June and 17 July, rug up and get amongst it as Ballarat transforms into a winter wonderland with a myriad of experiences to warm your heart, soul and belly.

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The City of Ballarat acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land we live and work on, the Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung People, and recognises their continuing connection to the land and waterways. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend this to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.