The artists and stories behind Ballarat's Christmas Window Trail

This year's Christmas Window Trail celebrates Ballarat's unique history and stories.

Commissioned by the City of Ballarat, six local artists have put their own spin on the theme 'Our Stories' with CBD window displays designed to bring joy and colour to the city's shopfronts and streetscape.

Christmas map
***Please note, this map is not to scale***

Click here for a printable map of Ballarat's Christmas Window Trail

Emily Van Der Molen

Emily is a multidisciplinary artist working in painting, drawing and textiles. Her combination of art and craft can be seen as a celebration of eccentricity and colour.

Santa's Showboat – 1968
Location: Parent Place, Albert Street, Ballarat

"Trams rattled through the streets of Ballarat right up until 1971. From 1964 until the network closed, several of the city's trams were transformed into Santa Trams, bringing extra colour and sparkle to the festive season in Ballarat.

This window tells the story of tram no. 21 having just left the depot in 1968, reimagined as Santa’s Showboat; a paddlesteamer-themed tram tasked with delivering children and their families to Myer in Sturt Street to meet the big man in the red suit."

The Myer Christmas Tram – 1967 (main image)
Location: Central Square, Armstrong Street South, Ballarat

"For several years prior to our iconic Ballarat tram network closing in 1971, locals were treated to the experience of riding the Santa Trams; a number of trams transformed with festive finery in celebration of the Christmas season.

This window tells the story of tram no.32, the Myer Christmas Tram, as it arrives outside Myer in Sturt Street, filled with excited children eager to meet the man in the red suit in his magical toy kingdom."

Evelyn Meikle

Evelyn is a trained prop maker. After completing studies at NIDA, she has spent the past 12 years creating sets and props in the film and television industry.

The Secret Life of Fairyland
Location: The City of Ballarat's Phoenix Building, Armstrong Street South, Ballarat

"In times of restriction this year, it has been remarkable to see the influx of people utilising Lake Wendouree for exercise, enjoyment, exploration and wellbeing. Fairyland has always been an area of intrigue with so much life going on.

This window reflects the secret life of Fairyland. Stop and take a moment to enjoy.

Thank you – A means of expressing thanks
Location: The City of Ballarat's Phoenix Building, Armstrong Street South, Ballarat

"The symbolism of butterflies was the answer when requested to consider a thank you to healthcare, frontline and essential workers. Butterflies are a feature of this time of year and reflect our connection with summer and nature. Butterflies are a strong symbol in many cultures and religions.

Across the world, all with a similarity in their meaning, this connects our multicultural community in Ballarat and the similarities we share. This window is here to say 'thank you' and brings hope, positivity, joy, transition, long life, good health, good fortune, love and wellbeing."

Margie Balazic

Margie is an artist with a diverse background in illustration and design. Margie’s passion for history is her inspiration in creating artistic storytelling pieces for all to enjoy.

Moment In Time
Location: Bridge Mall, Ballarat

"Ballarat is delight filled with wonder. A true gift to Ballarat is its beautiful and impressive buildings. These buildings hold many stories from our past – the architecture contains solid stone from volcanic basalt plains.

Surrounding Ballarat is dormant and extinct volcanoes. Mount Buninyong and Mount Warrenheip are both positioned near the heart of Ballarat. Can you imagine Mount Buninyong and Mount Warrenheip as they erupted so long ago?

Some of Ballarat’s unusual character can be felt when you wander through Fairyland at Lake Wendouree amongst the overhanging trees of character. After discovering an image of Fairyland from Ballarat’s past, I developed an imagination from prehistoric time.

Ballarat’s land has many reminiscences from prehistoric time in the form of geological basaltic rocks. Australia has discovered many prehistoric forms, one being descendants of kangaroos who once roamed the land, standing approximately three metres tall.

An analysis of DNA from a T Rex (Tyrannosaurus) dinosaur has revealed DNA is somewhat like a chicken. Can you imagine a chicken having characteristics of a T Rex? 

How did the chicken cross the road? An interactive study where scientists placed a artificial prosthetic tail on chickens provided a vision on how a T Rex may have walked all those years ago.

Literature reads smaller dinosaurs may have survived and evolved. A true gift for Christmas is a little imagination, you never know what you might discover!"

Whimsical Imagination
Location: Playing in the Attic, Sturt Street, Ballarat

"Christmas in Ballarat is when our beautiful surrounds burst into a curious life. Our community is filled with warmth, wonderful food, wildlife and beautiful scenery. The town lights up with excitement. The true magic of Ballarat is found within the people – they hold the key to create a world of imagination in a beautiful, whimsical and curious way. During change is when community discovers wings they never knew they had.

Take flight like a beautiful star shining in the sky and believe in your dazzle. The moment everyone shines uniqueness, the entire night sky will gleam brilliance."

One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others – Lewis Carroll

Zlatko Balazic

Zlatko’s unique blend of skills in engineering and art allows him to combine technology and creativity to present artworks that are both unique and spectacular.

A Christmas Street Organ in Ballarat – The Balazic Grand Orchestrion
Location: Santa's Kingdom, Bridge Mall, Ballarat

"Ballarat has a rich history of music and arts. The street organ in its time is renowned for bringing people together in dance halls and venues all over the world. The instrument blends automata and various musical instruments into the one package. This Christmas, a special handmade full-scale electronic street organ plays Christmas music to all."

A Booming Wonderful Christmas in the Ballarat Gardens
Location: Santa's Kingdom, Bridge Mall, Ballarat

"Imagine Earth with artificial intelligent flowers. These AI flowers react to the presence of people and bloom during the day as well as under the night stars. See the magical Christmas lilies bloom in the Ballarat Gardens as Santa and his Elves visit during Christmas."

Deborah Lee Klein

Deborah’s work is an exploration of the possibilities inherent in the old craft of cut-paper illustration. She plays with perspective and perception to construct artefacts that mimic our world.

Seasonal Celebrations
Location: Bridge Mall, Ballarat

"The 2020 Christmas windows theme 'Our Stories' and my current work with Ballarat's diverse communities immediately made me begin to think about the many traditions that our multicultural community embraces around the end-of-year period and the elements of those celebrations that we all share throughout the Christmas season.

Our Jewish neighbours celebrate Hanukkah; our Buddhist neighbours mark this period as the time when Buddha first gained Enlightenment, and our Hindu neighbours celebrate the birth of the god Ganesh.

African Americans and Rastas both mark December as a time of feasting and family celebrations through the Kwanzaa holiday, and many European communities still embrace the pre-Christian figure of the Krampusnacht, who eventually evolved into our more familiar Santa Claus.

December also marks our Summer Solstice – our longest day – a period celebrated around the world as the apex of sunlight, warmth, growth and renewal.

This window design incorporates symbols from these many cultural traditions. Hand-cut paper silhouettes of Buddha, Ganesh, African drummers, the Krampusnacht, a Menorah, and the Solstice hang from a model Bodhi Tree, under which Buddha was sitting when he gained Enlightenment.

In the foreground are laid out the images of abundance and celebration shared by people across all cultural traditions: food, flowers, candles, sweets and gifts.

Threaded throughout are handmade ornaments created by students from diverse backgrounds who are participants in Ballarat’s Diversity Homework Club Creative Workshops."

Summer Solstice
Location: Camera House, 416 Sturt Street, Ballarat

"My second window design, Summer Solstice, picks up on the Southern Hemisphere’s version of one of the oldest community celebrations of people around the world.

The backdrop of my design depicts a repeated image of the Southern night sky, where ancient indigenous astronomers identified the outlines of the Great Emu, the Fisherman and other totems of the Dreamtime used to mark the passing of the year.

The centrepiece of Summer Solstice is a dimensional paper illustration of a symbol for the celebration – an amalgam of the sun and the moon.

In the foreground are a series of abstract paper sculptures referencing the bonfires traditionally associated with the Solstice and used by people in significant celebrations around the world. The ‘fires’ sit on a field of handcrafted foods and flowers symbolising the bounty of the summer growing season that we all share."

Steph Wallace

Steph specialises in creating on-trend designs that are made on a tiny scale. Her works have seen her create editorial, brand and film content for publications including the Washington Post, Tastemade’s Tiny Kitchen and many more.

Location: Collins Booksellers, 22 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat

"This season is an ideal time to reflect on the dreams and adventures we have all put on hold in 2020.

We may not be able to fulfil our wanderlust just yet but this artwork explores how we can all escape within a book this Christmas and live those adventures, travel and explore stories of the world vicariously."

On Yer Bike
Location: My Ride Ballarat, 430 Sturt Street, Ballarat

"Nothing represents freedom like a bicycle.

From our kid's first pair of wheels to hitting the road or bush on a custom build, a bike is the ultimate way to escape within our own backyards.

This artwork is a cascade of 3D printed miniature bicycles and explores the way such a simple machine allows us to make our own stories of adventures within our lives."

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