Now that Icklegen is a self-proclaimed ‘big girl’ at all of age two, I thought it was high time we start to gently introduce her to the world of art and culture. And where better to start than at Lake Mac’s very own art gallery in the wonderfully-named suburb of Booragul. Not having visited for a while, I was looking forward to rediscovering what it had to offer, although I did have some concerns about whether our little toddler would enjoy her arty excursion.
The gallery building is fairly recent, opening in 2001, although the adjoining Awaba House, which now houses a café and restaurant, and the estate itself have a long (by Australian standards) and fascinating history. The site boasts a spectacular location at the north-western tip of the lake, with its grounds gently rolling down to the waterfront. And the art experience starts here, with a variety of outdoor sculptures on display throughout the gardens. Ickle liked this one in particular!
And actually she did pretty well in the gallery, too. It’s only a very small exhibition space, so I had no concerns about her getting bored with wall upon wall of artworks. I was, however, particularly wary of the lower-level exhibits, one of which, a fabulous installation entitled Blood and Chlorophyll by Janet Laurence, comprising a vast branch of red gum and laboratory glass jars (amongst other media), proved to be a big hit with my little one. Especially once I had told her not to touch anything.
So, I would estimate we lasted a grand total of 15 minutes in amongst the artworks. And it definitely was not time to get back in the car and drive all the way home. Luckily, the very helpful lady at the welcome desk had pointed out the family activity corner on our way in. What a great idea! Icklegen and I had a wonderful time colouring in pictures of Australian wildlife and sticking them on a sheet of yellow paper. Completely free-of-charge. And no-one else was there either. In fact, barring a group of high school art students, we had the place pretty much to ourselves for the whole visit.
The café was slightly busier, with a handful of tables occupied by a well-heeled older set when we arrived. Alas, this part of our visit was not a blinding success. First, I had a contact lens shocker, leaving me with one functioning eye and feeling slightly disorientated. Next, after discussing milkshake options with Ickle and settling on ‘pik stwawbewwy’, I was informed that they only came in one-size, but “your Mummy can share.” The shake in question arrived in a giant metal cup, hilariously oversized for a little girl. And then, disaster of disasters, I ordered a BLAT* with salad cream and fries, and didn’t think to ask whether the sauce was homemade. Which it was, with raw egg, and generously slathered all over the most delicious-looking sandwich. So, at $24, a rather expensive lunch for a half-drunk milkshake and a few fries.
*BLAT: Bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich, served here on Turkish bread, and a personal favourite.