Sand, sea and shipwrecks in the frame at Flagstaff Hill

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Flagstaff Hill and the Warrnambool and District Artists Society have teamed up to present a new exhibition in the recently renovated Alexander Farncombe Gallery: Sea, Sand and Shipwrecks.

The exhibition will feature 80 artworks created especially for this event, including two by Flagstaff Hill volunteer and Warrnambool and District Artists Society member Janet Steed.

The long-time Warrnambool landscape painter has been volunteering at Flagstaff Hill for about a year, and she was excited to see Flagstaff Hill and the Society come together for this exhibition.

“I wasn’t expecting the two loves to overlap, so this is really nice,” she said.

“It’s a great theme to start with, because everyone at the Merri View Gallery (home of the Society) loves painting the seascapes and the cliffs and the rocks, so I knew we’d get lots of lovely different choices.”

Her paintings are of Thunder Point and Moyjil.

“They’re just beautiful. All along the coast in lovely. You don’t have to go far to find somewhere beautiful in Warrnambool,” she said.

Flagstaff Hill Collections Curator Justin Croft said that he was very happy with the response from the artists after beginning discussions about the exhibition last year.

“The theme of sand, sea and shipwrecks is to capture the ever-changing beauty of western Victoria’s coastal landscape and the essence of coastal living, mysteries of the deep blue sea and enduring tales of seafaring adventures and maritime history and I think the artist have well and truly taken that theme on,” he said.

“As a museum, our role is as keepers of community history, values and innovation, and to become important partners with community organisations to develop relationships to achieve mutually beneficial goals which help form better communities.

“We’ve had over 80 artworks submitted which I’ve been told is a record for the Society. We only managed to get 70 up across the three rooms so in three months I’ll do a rotation. And from the end of May, the artworks will be available for purchase.”

Warrnambool and District Artists Society President Margaret Brodie said that she was pleased to see the works on display in the new space at Flagstaff Hill.

“It is a great honour to be the first artists group to exhibit,” she said.

“The members’ work offers a range of styles and ability and I hope you enjoy the display.

“Thank you to Justin for having the vision and the drive to make this exhibition a reality and for inviting our group to exhibit in your gallery.”

The exhibition is now open and will be on display for six months.

As well as hosting the Sea, Sand and Shipwrecks exhibition, Flagstaff Hill is home to Australia’s richest collection of shipwreck artefacts housed within a 19th century replica village with sweeping views of Lady Bay.

Flagstaff Hill averaged 4.5 out of five stars based on more than 1400 Google Reviews, and is open daily.

The Warrnambool and District Artists Society hosts regular classes in a variety of mediums, with new members always welcome. The Merri View Gallery is open on weekends from 12pm until 4pm with free entry.

You can find out more about the Society at