Celebrating another successful Ballarat Heritage Festival

Monuments, by Australian artist Craig Walsh, was a huge hit throughout the Heritage Festival. Photo: Tony Evans Photography.

Monuments, by Australian artist Craig Walsh, was a huge hit throughout the Heritage Festival. Photo: Tony Evans Photography.

The City of Ballarat is celebrating another successful Ballarat Heritage Festival, with thousands of people flooding to Ballarat over 10 action-packed days.

Initial estimates indicate more than 25,000 people attended the festival, with about $2 million expected to be injected into the Ballarat economy.

In total, there were over 130 events held, with many sold out including the Ballarat Old Gaol Tours, the night and day tours of the Mechanics Institute and their 135th Devonshire Tea, and the Great Takeaway as part of Craft Lab 24.

Monuments, by Australian artist Craig Walsh, brought thousands of people into the CBD by brilliantly projecting three local faces onto large trees and sharing the stories of their varying cultural backgrounds.

Jenna Oldaker’s creative immersive display sharing a Wadawurrung story in a re-purposed shipping container was another huge hit that highlighted and celebrated Indigenous heritage in the area.

Other events and activities that proved popular were the Ballarat Antique Fair, the Vintage Car Show, the Wadawurrung Culture and Language Session, the Eureka Centre talks and the Drinks That Made Ballarat at Itinerant Spirits.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson said the event had been brilliant in highlighting and celebrating the city’s diverse heritage.

“Every year the Ballarat Heritage Festival delivers in so many different ways and this year was no exception,” he said.

“We could not be happier with how the event unfolded and the early feedback we’ve heard from event holders and the general public has been glowing.”

Among those celebrating the success of the festival was Cody Winward, who showcased traditional and modern flower making techniques in the Ballarat Mining Exchange as part of Craft Lab 24.

The event broke all previous Craft Lab records in terms of attendance with more than 5300 people through the doors, including more than 3200 on the first weekend alone.

“Craft Lab 24 has been an incredible experience to grow relationships with fellow artists, give confidence and reassurance to artisans like myself, gain practical business knowledge and has given the platform to interact with an aligned audience,” he said.

“Having come from a town where I could only dream this would happen, I am immensely grateful to be sitting amongst Craft Lab 24.”

Charles Zhang from the Chinese Australian Cultural Society Ballarat was one of the three faces brilliantly projected onto Sturt Street trees throughout the festival as part of renowned artist Craig Walsh’s display.

Mr Zhang said it was an honour to see his face displayed so prominently to share the story not only of his Chinese ancestry, but Ballarat’s broader multicultural heritage.

“People from the Ballarat Chinese Community were feeling so proud about living in this city with one of their images projected on the major trees,” he said.

“We appreciate what this city has done to bring cultural harmony. It's been a fantastic experience to be part of this great project, I am highly impressed by the artist's work.”