Clunes is a small village one and a half hours drive north of Melbourne in country once mined for gold. To get there from Melbourne, you drive over the western plains, through valleys that supply Melbourne’s markets, past national parks and plantations and into pastoral country crossed with fences and dotted with villages. Clunes’ main street, Fraser Street, has shops with deep verandahs, a museum and massive buildings characteristic of the gold rush in Victoria.
The discovery of gold where Clunes is now, sparked the gold rush in Australia. Grains and small nuggets of gold were found in 1851 and would be miners rushed to the yellow pastures in the same year. By the late 1850s, it had a large population and new people were arriving all the time to dig and pan for gold or do business with the newly wealthy miners.
Artists went too – the gold rush and the country supplied artists with new imagery and patrons. Artists like S.T. Gill, Lindsay and Longstaff travelled through or lived in the area. Gill came to the gold fields in 1851 and lived on what he earned from painting the activities of the miners and the country they were in. Buvelot and von Guerard were also travelling around Victoria. A history of painting the landscape was just beginning in Australia and artists sought through the country around Clunes, to show how the land was used, to express nationhood or find new poetic forms. Landscape is still pursued, conceived of in many ways and expressed in different forms. There are still many artists living and working in this part of the country, working in a variety of ways – not just landscape.
The Latrobe Street Gallery School in Melbourne has a studio school in an old bank whose vault held the gold of the miners. The bank sits on the corner of Fraser Street fifty metres from the local museum. It has high ceilings and large rooms and has been renovated for up to ten artists to live and work under the tuition of some of Australia’s best artists. The studio is large, well-lit and built for the purpose. The school is situated in Clunes to take advantage of a quiet and safe place to learn in a part of Victoria with a history that ties in with the history of art in Australia.
The Latrobe Street Gallery School
The Latrobe Street Gallery School is an independent school of art teaching drawing, painting and design to artists and designers.
Classes are small and the curriculum is designed to intensively teach skills to people who are just starting out, preparing a folio or wanting to quickly develop their skills to a higher level. It has excellent teachers – artists working in a variety of media and forms, who between them have a wide knowledge of art, great technical expertise and professional experience.
The school also operates a gallery showing contemporary art by Australian artists and 26 studios in the centre of the city.
Latrobe Street Gallery School in Melbourne has a studio school in Clunes, a village one and a half hours west of Melbourne, near the old gold-mining town of Ballarat. The school offers an Australian art program of six-week or three-month terms to artists in Australia and from around the world.
Students are taught painting and drawing and other skills in intensive weekend sessions by teachers who are some of the best artists in Australia. These teachers have a great range of technical and professional knowledge to give to students in a beautiful place where they can concentrate on their work without distraction.
Artist in residence program
The studio school at Clunes is a an opportunity to work intensively, developing and idea or form, and immerse yourself in a village surrounded by farms, forests and national parks.
The school has a large, purpose-built studio and a residence in an old bank which was built in the 1860s to store the gold found by the miners in and around Clunes. The residence and studio can be used by individuals, small groups and families.
The studio school in Clunes is run by the Latrobe Street Gallery School in Melbourne, an independent school of art and design that offers single-term courses in drawing, painting and design, and also a Master of Art through the Charles Sturt University.