Community Art: the Growth of the Victor Harbor Creative Community - Part Three

Hi Everyone - Rowdy Wylie and I are back to continue the story of the development of the Victor Harbor Creative Artistic Community on the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia which is one of the oldest and most active visual arts communities in Australia. If you missed the previous three posts please click here for (1) Community Art: Brief History of "Port Victor" now Victor Harbor, South Australia, (2) Community Art: the Growth of the Victor Harbor Creative Community - Part One and (3) Part Two.

Due to the incredible creative environment and the development of the art community of the Victor Harbor Region the Victor Harbor Regional Gallery (VHRG) was formed in 2013 as an off–shoot from the Ocean Street Art Society which featured in the previous post.1

At first the VHRG met in Ocean Street but is now based at 7 Railway Terrace Victor Harbor within the historic Bakery Building as seen below.

Victor Harbor Regional Gallery (Photo: John "Rowdy" Wylie)

A little about the bakery before we move on to learning more about the artists who belong to the Victor Harbor Regional Gallery:

In 1896 William Henry Smith commenced as the Original Baker at 7 Railway Terrace Victor Harbor… opposite the Victor Harbor Railway Station…. Letters advise that he was born in the United Kingdom most likely North Hampton in 1843. He immigrated to Australia in 1868 at the age of 24 years….1

William Henry Smith, the first baker in Victor Harbor South Australia (Credit: William Henry Smith Original Baker at 7 Railway Terrace Victor Harbor by Liz Schultz, Feb 2019)

There is a detailed description of the bakery building in the Victor Harbor Heritage Survey Volume 2 Built Heritage November 1997 which reads:

A single storey limestone building with red brick quoins. The parapet notes that this was the Victor Harbor Bakery, Pastry Cook and Confectionery shop. The shop window has a full glazed front door with a fanlight. There is another full glazed door next door with a wire door over the top. There are sidelights with figured and patterned glass. Further along is a timber framed sash window, brick quoins, a new bullnosed verandah, hipped roof and over 7A, the pastry cook section, is a little raised parapet with the rendered surface for the notice which has now been painted out in white paint.2

Down the side of the building it still continues in stone and red brick quoins. There is a red brick chimney. This building is attached to a small, but unsympathetic, single gabled roof building. The gable appears to be timber framed and metal, has two large windows and the wall finish is sheet brick. There is a small timber framed straight corrugated galvanised iron verandah to the front. The building currently is used as the Port Victor Gallery.2

Part of a group of buildings concentrated on Railway Terrace, the building is of local heritage significance and is an essential feature of the streetscape which emphasises the importance of the area in the early commercial life of Victor Harbor.2

This building was a bakery between 1905 and at least 1946. About seven different bakers have occupied the premises. A John Smith appears to have been the first baker. Henry Reynolds owned the property from 1910-1918 ... The property was leased from 1919-1921 before George Amos Lush bought the premises. Of all the bakers, he traded the longest: between 1921 and 1946. The Lush family have been associated with the Victor Harbor district since the 1850s.2

The beautiful leadlight bakery window you see below is not from the original bakery shop but was created and added to the dwelling when it was restored by the current owner of the property Mr. Doug McLaren.

Leadlight window in the old bakery building Railway Terrace Victor Harbor (Photo: John "Rowdy" Wylie)

The Bakery Window is in the old wood fired bakers' oven room in the rear area of the Victor Harbor Regional Gallery building. Doug McLaren meticulously restored the historic building and the old bakers' woodfired brick oven which originally was outside under a tin roof. A "new room" was built around the oven. Members of the gallery use this area as the retail display for paintings, jewellery, wood carvings/turning, items of needlework, bags, T-shirts and hats etc. In the photo below you can see the beautiful old wood fired oven and the original "outside paving bricks" on the floor.

Many tourists come into the gallery... not only to view the art items for sale but to see the original bakers' oven and appreciate the craftsmanship in the brick construction. The original baker William Henry Smith’s name plate is attached to the wall on the front of the building….1

Room with the old wood fired bakers' oven in the Victor Harbor Regional Gallery (Photo: John "Rowdy" Wylie)

The Gallery has been operational for several decades and is managed by a co-operative of local artists who are all volunteers. The Gallery provides a space for the artists to exhibit and sell their works and promotes the arts within the Fleurieu Peninsula region… 1

Art Exhibits at the Victor Harbor Regional Gallery (Top: Photographer unknown; Middle and Bottom: John "Rowdy" Wylie)
Art Exhibits at the Victor Harbor Regional Gallery (Photo: John "Rowdy" Wylie)

Exhibition and Space Hire is available to individual, group or community visual art exhibitions… Regular events include participation in local monthly Artisan Markets… South Australian Living Arts (SALA).. Silent Auctions and many in house creative exhibitions and initiatives….

Victor Harbor Regional Gallery on one of the monthly Artisan Market days (Photo: Taken by Gallery Member)

Of course, sometimes the painting that is required isn't quite as creative as that usually employed by the artists! Below is Danny McGlone (Gallery Treasurer) plying his craft as a handyman when the gallery was recently repainted!

Danny McGlone, Treasurer, painting the interior of the Victor Harbor Regional Gallery (Photos: John "Rowdy" Wylie)

“Victor Harbor Regional Gallery” - Into the Future:

Due to the gallery being located opposite the Victor Harbor Railway Station and centrally in the Victor Harbor prime tourism precinct… the gallery is open seven days a week for visitors to enjoy the amazing works of local artists…

The VHRG runs a co-op with 20 financial members, an honorary treasurer, chairperson, vice chairperson and one non-member volunteer. There is also a Friends of the Gallery group with 25 members.

Tomorrow we are going to introduce you to the Victor Harbor Regional Gallery artists and show you some samples of their work. In the meantime you might like to check out their site through the link given below.

7 Railway Terrace Victor Harbor

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Victor Harbor Regional Gallery
Victor Harbor Regional Gallery, Victor Harbor, South Australia. 415 likes · 1 talking about this · 19 were here. The Victor Harbor Regional Gallery showcases the work of local artists, and locally…

1. Research notes collected by John "Rowdy" Wylie including from the booklet produced by The Ocean Street Art Society Inc.n.d.; Founding Member Conversation with renowned Artist Alfred Engel; Current Member Conversations with Margaret McEntee, Wendy Jennings, Annette Vandenberg, Yvonne Mc Glone & Anne Blanchard; Kate Shierlaw… VHRG venue – “Old Bakery Building” information; William Henry Smith - Baker of “Port Victor” Publication; The “Victor Harbor Art Society” web site.
2. Victor Harbor Heritage Survey Volume 2 Built Heritage November 1997, State Government of South Australia.

The Victor Harbor Regional Gallery Members Co-op acknowledges the Ramindjeri & Ngarrindjeri people as Traditional Custodians of the land and oceans where we live and create works of art.