News – A walking guide to BIFB

Ballarat is just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne but did you know trains run daily from Southern Cross Station to Ballarat and you can travel for just $10 each way. Discover the 10th Ballarat International Foto Biennale on foot with this handy guide.

As you step off the train at Ballarat Train Station, you’ll find yourself immersed in Portals to Atlantis, a captivating site-responsive project by Kate Ballis. This transformative installation seamlessly blends her mesmerizing photographs with the station’s historic architecture, adorning windows and staircases. It beckons commuters on a journey through a portal to mythical realms.

Located on Lydiard Street North, the station is a mere stone’s throw from the renowned Art Gallery of Ballarat. As you head south toward the CBD, don’t forget to cast your gaze upwards! The intersection of Lydiard Street and Mair Street provides a perfect vantage point for Business in the Front, Party in the Back!. large-scale works by David Cossini, adorning the upper floor of Regent Cinemas and the verandah of The Sporting Globe. Adjacent, you’ll be greeted by a captivating paste-up showcasing Vineet Vohra‘s artistry. Continue past the Art Gallery of Ballarat and turn left into Police Lane to encounter more of Vohra’s keen eye for serendipitous moments, predominantly captured with a mobile phone.

Portrait of red-haired man with beard with eyes closed looking up to sky in colourful shirt

Cross over to The George Hotel and step into The Lane, a charming space that leads you to laneway exhibitions by Narelle Autio and Trent Parke, photographers from the Oculi Collective. Continue through the laneway to Hop Temple Lane, where vibrant yellow umbrellas dance overhead. This bluestone-lined lane ushers you into one of Ballarat’s prime culinary destinations, Armstrong Street North. Here, an array of delectable options await, ranging from Italian and South American to Mexican, Vietnamese, and beyond, all nestled along this leafy boulevard.

Should you choose to veer right on Armstrong Street North, you’ll find a public carpark adjacent to Nevett Lawyers. Within, a heritage brick wall serves as a canvas for yet another striking work by Vineet Vohra.

Embark on a stroll along McKenzie Street, extending westward from Armstrong Street, and be greeted by further Oculi Collective paste-ups. Your journey culminates on Doveton Street North, where you’ll turn left, heading southward towards Sturt Street. Cross at the traffic lights to discover more riveting paste-ups by Oculi Collective photographers, David Maurice-Smith, Matthew Abbott, Jeremy Piper, Conor Ashleigh, and Tamara Voninski at the corner of Sturt and Doveton Street South. From here, proceed eastward along Sturt Street towards the magnificent Ballarat Town Hall.

At the side of the Town Hall on the wall of Il Piccolo Gelato, you’ll encounter a moving and captivating selection of Oculi Collective photography by Andrew Quilty. Continue down Bath Lane, just beyond the Town Hall, where you’ll spy Lisa Roet’s monumental Golden Monkey sculpture, clinging playfully to the side of the splendid heritage building, formerly the Union Bank and soon to be the esteemed National Centre for Photography.  Continue heading east on Sturt Street to Unicorn Lane for works by Abigail Varney on the side of the Unicorn Hotel building.

Finally, cross north on Sturt Street to walk along Camp Street taking in Alfred Deakin Place, a public plaza housing large digital screen NFT works by Serwah Attafuah and Jonathon Zawada and keep walking toward Mair Street to discover Oculi Collective photographers, Jesse Marlow and Tajette O’Halloran on the corner of Camp and Field Streets.

This walking tour guide offers flexibility—whether you prefer a brisk exploration or a leisurely meandering. Along the way, keep an eye out for the distinctive yellow A-frame signs, guiding you to a variety of engaging Open Program exhibitions.

Lydiard Street North serves as the epicentre for the indoor Core Program, boasting 14 exhibitions across seven venues, including the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Mining Exchange, Post Office Gallery, Town Hall, BAaD Gallery & Events, along with two vacant buildings at 41 and 52 Lydiard Street North. All venues are accessible with a Festival Pass ticket, priced at just $25 for adults.

The 10th Ballarat International Foto Biennale runs until 22 October.