Lake Ballard is a must to see for anyone who is visiting Western Australia Goldfields.
“It’s one of the greatest artistic installations I’ve ever seen”
SIR IAN MCKELLEN, 22 JUNE 2010
A surreal landscape where the metal statuettes of 51 residents of an outback town inhabit ten square kilometres of a shimmering salt lake, enticing both the eye and the feet.
It was no surprise to learn that Lake Ballard is a sacred site to the Wongi/Wangkatha people, carrying the Seven Sisters Dreaming, and the islands are an important part of the story.
Many Aboriginal peoples all over Australia have a Dreaming story for the Seven Sisters, which Europeans know as the Pleiades constellation, a small cluster of stars best seen in the Southern Hemisphere’s spring and summer.
There are seven islands dotted across the lake’s surface, and each is one of the sisters, still there today, playing on the Lake and hiding from the lecherous man.
The largest island, nearest the campground and carpark, is the eldest of the sisters.
Inside Australia: The Antony Gormley Sculptures
According to those who’ve met him, Sir Antony Gormley is an eccentric character, a British artist driven to explore the human form and its relationship to space – both natural and manmade – in his installations and sculptures.
Gormley visited the Lake in the early 2000s, and was captivated:
“You come to the edge … and it’s absolutely magic. A feeling of being at the edge of endlessness. It’s like being on the lip of the edge of the world.”
This inspired him to plan an art installation called Inside Australia: “I am trying to … unite a notion of the interior of this continent with the notion of an interior of the population.”
He approached the people of nearby Menzies, found 51 volunteers, and made a three dimensional, exact-height body scan of each person.
After this, Gormley sourced local raw metals to create an alloy to make the sculptures – another reason they truly are from Inside Australia.
The result was 51 metal statuettes spread over roughly 10 square kilometres of the Lake’s surface.