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19th March, 2018



Media Release

18 March 2018


Artists in Historic Paint Out in Fitzroy Gardens 


Artists from the Victorian Artists' Society in Albert Street, East Melbourne recreated an historic paint out in the Fitzroy Gardens today to welcome their soon to be neighbours of The Eastbourne residential development, currently under construction.


Ron Smith, Victorian Artists' Society Councillor for Communications said "picnics and paint outs in the Fitzroy Gardens were a common social event for the Victorian Artists' Society in the 1890s, which will celebrate its 150th Anniversary in 2020.  Today's event featured the recreation of a picnic scene with models in period costume.


VAS Artist Jennifer Fyfe at the Paint Out in the Fitzroy Gardens today.



Ray Wilson VAS Artist painting in the Fitzroy Gardens.



"The event is part of a series of community artistic collaborations between Mirvac, the developer of The Eastbourne and the Victorian Artists' Society.


"Future residents were invited to join artists in discussing works and painting techniques as well as having an opportunity to join in and try their own hand at sketching and painting.


VAS Artist Suzanne Johnston with her pastel drawing in the Fitzroy Gardens this morning.



VAS Artist Alan Innocent was drawing the models today.



VAS Artist Ursula Tursky was enjoying the Paint Out experience in the Fitzroy Gardens.



Victorian Artists' Society Artists along with models Anne Scott-Pendlebury and Tim McKew, Eileen Mackley, President, Victorian Artists' Society (3rd from right) and Ron Smith (left) in the Fitzroy Gardens during the Paint Out.



The rich historic links between the Victorian Artists' Society, opened on 28 May 1892, and The Eastbourne project, being built on the original site of the Presbyterian Ladies' College founded in 1875, involve famous Heidelberg School painter Walter Withers and Australia's best known Opera Singer Dame Nellie Melba.


Walter Withers was President of the Victoria Artists' Society from 1904 to 1905 and a Council member for 23 years. For a number of years he was also the revered Art Master at PLC and on 14 October 2014, the Society commemorated the 100th anniversary of Walter Wither's passing.


Among the girls in the first intake of sixty students at PLC was a young lady Helen Mitchell who later became one of the most famous women in the world, Opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. The Melba Music Conservatorium was housed in the building of the Victorian Artists' Society in Albert Street, East Melbourne from 1915-1975, where hundreds of opera singers were trained in the front rooms on the lower floors making their concert debut in the upper galleries. Dame Nellie was also known to sing from the front balcony to crowds below.      


Ron Smith said these are two significant personal and historic links which will remain part of the historic DNA of the Victorian Artists' Society and The Eastbourne.

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Victorian Artists' Society Councillor for Communications -
Mobile: 0417 329 201