Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ballarat. Craigs Royal Hotel, Art Gallery of Ballarat, MADE and Saltbush Kitchen

Craig's Royal Hotel

  • 1853 - Thomas Bath opens The Ballarat Hotel in June
  • 1854 - Hotel became known as “Bath's Hotel”
  • 1855 - Eureka Stockade Royal Commission of enquiry into the conflict was held at the hotel
  • 1856 - Hotel became temporary Council Chamber for Ballarat municipality while new Council offices were built.
  • 1857 - Gas main laid in Lydiard street to supply gas to the hotel. The original gas supply was made from Eucalyptus leaves by a Mr Curtis
  • 1857 - Walter Craig purchases Bath's Hotel
  • 1865 - American ship the C.S.S. Shenandoah (described as The Confederate Cruiser) visits Melbourne between 25th January and 18th February 1865. The Shenandoah's mission was to enlist recruits for the Confederate Navy and one of those activities was a Shenandoah Ball, held in the main dining room of Craig's hotel.
  • 1867 - Queen Victoria's second son Prince Alfred “The Duke of Edinburgh” visits Ballarat and is hosted at Craig's Prince's room specially prepared for the Prince
  • 1867 - Noted Australian Poet and horseman Adam Lindsay Gordon enters into arrangement with Craig to conduct the stables at Craig's hotel. Gordon refers to “Craig's pony” in his poem “The Bankers Dream”. Craig's stables had a capacity for 40 horses with 12 looseboxes.
  • 1870 - Craig dreams of Nimblefoot winning Melbourne Cup and of his own death
  • 1870 - Craig's death in August 1870 and his horse Nimblefoot wins the 1870 Melbourne Cup
  • 1871 - Craig's widow died
  • 1873 - Hotel sold to George Hawthorn and later to J J Goller
  • 1875 - Hotel purchased by J H B Speering and within 2 years sold to Fred Wilkins
  • 1875 - The Melbourne Racing Club (formerly The Victorian Amateur Turf Club) was formed by a group of prominent local squatters at a meeting convened at Craig's on 13th October 1875.
  • 1877 - New owner George Thompson
  • 1881 - Prince Albert Victor and his younger brother George visited Craig's and the goldfields.
  • 1883 - William Bentley purchases hotel.
  • 1889 - The western portion of the hotel in Bath Lane was added for kitchen and servants quarters.
  • 1890 - Work began on the corner of Bath Lane & Lydiard Street to replace Bath's 2 storey hotel of 1853 with the corner tower section which was in harmony with Walter Craig's south wing. It took 8 months to complete at a cost to the hotelkeeper William Bentley of £10,000.
  • 1895 - Mark Twain visited Ballarat on a world speaking tour and stayed at Craig's. October 21 & 22 - Mechanics' Institute, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. A number of humorous stories are recorded by Sir Daryl Lindsay in describing the meeting between his father and the famous American author.
  • 1901 - The hotel underwent extensive alterations and every room was redecorated in the latest ornate fashion. Fibre plaster ceiling installed in the Prince's room.
  • 1903 - E L Bentley sold hotel to Stephen Seward
  • 1907 - Hotel put up for auction (rented at 1,200 pounds per annum)
  • 1908 - Dame Nellie Melba noted Australian opera singer performs from Craig's balcony of the Reading Room
  • 1926 - Craig's became sewered.
  • 2010 - The "New" Craig's is completely restored and fully re-opened with 41 rooms, 5 banquet & meeting rooms, historic bar, coffee shop & larder & courtyard atrium Gallery Bistro.


Ballarat Station 


Art Gallery of Ballarat


Founded in 1884, the Art Gallery of Ballarat is the oldest regional art gallery in Australia and was the first to be built outside a capital city in the overseas dominions of the British Empire. The Gallery is the oldest and largest regional gallery in the country, housed in a heritage-listed building which is one of the oldest purpose-built galleries in the country.
The original building at 40 Lydiard Street North, which is still the core of the Gallery, was opened by Alfred Deakin on Friday 13 June 1890, having taken three years to construct.
In Ballarat, the 1880s witnessed building on a grand scale in the centre of the city. It was home to many citizens whose background and inclinations led them to the view that an art gallery was an essential element of a civilised and modern city. Of these, the most important was undoubtedly James Oddie.

The 'Father of Ballarat'

Having come to Ballarat as a digger, Oddie made a fortune as a real estate agent and subsequently as a banker. He had liberal attitudes both in terms of politics and culture and was a firm believer in the potential of people to lift themselves up through hard work and education. He saw an art gallery as a way for his fellow citizens to look beyond their everyday lives and be inspired and edified by the Fine Arts.
In 1885 Oddie gave the new Gallery a painting he had commissioned from noted artist Eugene von Guerard, showing Ballarat in its early days as a tent city. This painting, 'Old Ballarat as it was in the Summer of 1853/54' is still at the heart of the Gallery's collection.

The Collection Grows

The Gallery holds an exceptional collection, built up lovingly, intelligently and often with inspiration over 120 years. An important factor in the growth was the George Crouch Prize for contemporary art, which ran from 1927 till the 1970s.  Established by Federal MP Richard Crouch, a native of Ballarat and son of an early pioneer,  as an acquisitive art prize in memory of his father, the Crouch Prize was for many years one of the most prestigious art prizes in the country.
The Crouch Prize ensured that the Gallery continued to build its collection of Australian art at a time when any other regional galleries were suffering from a lack of energy and investment. Crouch also established a prizes for watercolours in memory of his sister Minnie and gave the Gallery his remarkable collection of medieval manuscripts and early printed books, the only Australian holding of such items outside the capital cities.

The Gallery Comes into Public Hands

In 1979, the Gallery Association gave the building and collection to the Ballaarat City Council, which undertook to operate the Gallery for the benefit of the Ballarat community and visitors. The Association kept a stake in the ownership of the collection and has continued to have close involvement many aspects of the life of the Gallery.
The period of the early 1970s also saw the Gallery start to take seriously its custodianship of the original flag from the 1854 Eureka Stockade. This unique and beautiful relic, which had been held by the Gallery since 1895, underwent conservation works and was put on permanent display in 1973. Serious attention has been given to the acquisition of works of art that help to interpret the story of Eureka.

The Gallery Now

The focus of the Collection is to present the history of Australian Art to the current time through paintings and works on paper with selections of sculpture and decorative arts, also looking closely at the work of regional artists and works depicting the growth of Ballarat. Recent purchases and donations have expanded on the holdings of modern Australian sculpture and opened up a new vista of collecting - the art of the indigenous peoples of Australia's Top End.
The Gallery building has changed and evolved in response over the years to the expansion of the collection and reflecting the place the gallery has had in Ballarat's cultural life. The first addition to the 1890 building came in the 1920s, with the addition of two large gallery rooms on the upper level. 
In 1987 the City of Ballaarat expanded the Gallery into the Bones Building, a group of shops adjoining the existing building in Lydiard Street. The latest expansion came as part of the 2001 Centenary of Federation, when the Gallery building was extended through to Camp Street as part of the Camp Street arts precinct, which also includes the University of Ballarat Arts Academy and Alfred Deakin Place.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is one of Australia's great art galleries. It remains at the heart of Ballarat's cultural life and offers residents and visitors a vigorous and exciting program of exhibitions, as well as providing an opportunity to walk through the entire span of Australia's art history.

Ballarat Town Centre

Mitchell Harris Winery

John Harris was a winemaker at Domaine Chandon during the early 2000s before returning nearer his hometown of Ballarat to produce his own wine. He decided to keep a low-carbon footprint and source grapes only from neighbouring Macedon, Pyrenees and Ballarat itself. With his brother-in-law (of the Mitchell family) and their wives, the team started producing, and selling, wines before addressing the idea of a cellar-door outlet. 

A former produce store and workshop in downtown Ballarat became available and the team jumped at the chance to create a unique urban-cellar door. The huge warehouse space now houses a micro-winery to show the winemaking process during vintage, and a cellar door and distribution outlet for the house wines. 

Even more exciting is the wine bar and wine shop that opens onto Doveton Street North: a genuine wine bar with a great range of wines that confidently extends way beyond the house wines. The food is a back-up – simple seasonal dishes and plates of meats and cheese – to the wine experience where wines are available at retail price with a reasonable corkage if consumed in-house.

This is what wine bars should be all about, and the Mitchell Harris wines perform well.

Christmas in July and a cold snap


Saltbush Kitchen Tasting Plate


What a find! Gorgeous, slightly quirky menu with really interesting Australian bush tucker flavors. Delicious! Loved the setting too! The price was also right, very affordable. 

This food is an amazing experience. Very experimental in some ways, such as the amazing use of Australian spices alongside more familiar food. This is Australian fusion, hints of very local produce we know and love. Locally grown and smoked ham and meats; dips and ducha that mix Lemon Myrtle, with Wattle Seed, wild tomato and Macadamia or Beetroot.

Saltbush Kitchen is on a tasty and creative adventure to bring delicious native Australian flavours to your table. Our Australian landscape provides such a wonderful range of delicious and unique flavours and its a delight, and an honour, to feature these bush food flavours in our products.

Saltbush Kitchen at M.A.D.E is a modern, beautiful space overlooking the Eureka Park Memorial gardens and lake. Sweeping windows take in the panorama as you enjoy the finest refreshments from our menu.

Saltbush Kitchen offers a quality menu sourced from fresh, local produce and cooked on site. 

Brigid Corcoran specializes in bringing delicious native flavours to your meal. They cater for any dietary requirements, and offer a selection of hot and cold food, soft drinks, fine espresso coffee and refined teas.

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