Heide Park and Art Gallery

The Heide Park and Art Gallery on the outskirts of Melbourne is a delightful combination of art gallery, garden, and historical museum. It was once the residence of John and Sunday Reed who lived an idyllic life creating art and hosting salons.

The gallery displays work of contemporary artists, all Australians by birth or transplant (some Brits, French, and Dutch). The collection was started by a couple of art patrons, John and Sunday Reed, in the 1930s. They helped found a group of radical Australian artists called the Angry Penguins, and also were instrumental in getting Angry Penguins’ work shown in Paris, Rome, and London in the 40s.

Anyway, they bought an old dairy farm on the bank of the Yarra River, and it soon became a favorite getaway for avant-garde painters, sculptors, and writers.

The main gallery originally was their home, designed with the idea that the residence would later be turned into a modern art gallery. Since these people were living out in a cow pasture they had to be pretty self-sufficient; they left a huge, wonderful kitchen garden, with more than 350 varieties of herbs and edible plants and flowers. Even in autumn the fragrances were astounding. In addition to the garden, the gallery and grounds contain some excellent work.

How to get there: It’s less than 10 km from downtown Melbourne, and you’ll get to see some neighborhoods on the way.

Take Queen’s Parade (Hwy #46) north out of Melbourne proper. It turns into Heidelberg Road. At a “Y” intersection (in the district of Ivanhoe), go right onto Lower Heidelberg Road (#44). Continue 2 or 3 km (you’ll be in Heidelberg now) and turn right onto Banksia St (#2 and #40) for just over 1 km. Then left onto Templestow Road (#2 and #52) and you’re there; I think it’s your second left.

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