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Regional artists making their mark on Ballarat Line station upgrades

Posted: 30 Oct 2019

Warrnambool artists Fiona Clarke and Ken McKean have been commissioned to create a series of artworks for each of the upgraded stations at Wendouree, Ballan, Bacchus Marsh and Rockbank, as well as the new station at Cobblebank.

Fiona, a Kirrae Whurrong artist, and her husband Ken have developed five creative designs in response to the traditional Indigenous seasons of Victoria and the Kulin Nations – the Traditional Custodians of the land where the stations sit. The Kulin calendar is based on environmental events such as plant flowering and animal behaviour, along with the stars and changing angles of the sun.

Working with landscape architects from scale models, Fiona and Ken’s designs are being permanently etched into the station forecourts through a process of stencilling and concrete sandblasting. The first completed artwork at the upgraded Rockbank Station was unveiled at the recent community opening and is based on the Kulin Dry Season, or high summer. It tells the story of the lifecycle of the common butterfly.

Regional Rail Revival Director Mark Havryluk said the artworks will enhance the station environment.

“It’s fantastic to see the first completed station upgrade, Rockbank Station, featuring Fiona and Ken’s artwork,” he said.

“The artworks will be a crucial part of the design of each station. We’re creating welcoming public spaces that recognise Indigenous culture and history.”

Fiona noted it had been a great experience to work in collaboration with Ken and the design team on the Ballarat Line Upgrade project. Both artists have their own established and respective creative practices but have worked together previously on Eel Trap (2006), which was commissioned by City of Melbourne ahead of the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

More recently Fiona’s work, a design commemorating the 150th anniversaries of the first Aboriginal cricket teams of 1866 and 1868, has been worn on the uniforms of both the men’s and women’s Australian cricket teams, including for the recent men’s and women’s Ashes series against England.

New artwork at Rockbank Station