Lake Ballard is Australia’s largest outdoor gallery. 51 sculptures have been installed on the bed of Lake Ballard over an area of 10 square kilometers. It’s called “Inside Australia”, is the creation of Antony Gormley and it has been installed in 2003 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Perth International Arts Festival.
Lake Ballard is located in the Goldfields area close to Menzies in Western Australia. It was planned to remove the statues after conclusion of the festival but they remain and are now a tourist attraction in the Outback of Western Australia. It’s a dry salt lake and at the time we have been here it was completely dry without any water. We have seen pictures of Lake Ballard with a nice white salt crust, at the time we have been at Lake Ballard there was almost no salt and the lake bed was brown.
We camped for three nights at Lake Ballard, had beautiful sunshine but also strong wind with a sandstorm one evening. So be prepared for rapid weather changes.
It’s a beautiful spot to spend some time, wander around the sculptures and enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere. We especially liked the changes of light during the day. I went up to watch the sunrise over lake and we also experienced beautiful skies during sunsets. The sculptures on Lake Ballard are a great photo opportunity during different times of the day.
What are the sculptures at Lake Ballard?
There are 51 sculptures scattered on an area of 10 square kilometers on Lake Ballard. All the 51 sculptures are derived from laser scans of Menzies inhabitants. The artist used a three-dimensional laser scanner to map the bodies. Then he reduced the cross sections of the bodies by two thirds and connected the contours to create the sculptures he refers to as an “insider”.
The sculptures have been cast in an alloy containing titan, molybdenum and vanadium. All the materials he used for the casts are found in the rock of Western Australia.
Antony Gormley, the creator of the sculptures
Antony Gormley was born in London in 1950. He has shown his work for two decades and has created many large scale installations in different parts of the world. He is internationally recognized and has won several international prizes.
More info on www.antonygormley.com
What can you do at Lake Ballard?
The Snake Hill lookout is located 1km past the turn-off to the Lake Ballard access. From the lookout you can see over the lake and can get an idea how far it is to walk if you like to see all the 51 sculptures.
Picnic and BBQ facilities, including tables with benches under trees, fire pits and a toilet are available at Lake Ballard.
Basic camping facilities are provided too. There are a few beautiful sites with a view over the lake, tables with benches, a bit of shade from the trees and a toilet with a water tank.
You can walk on Lake Ballard and get a close look of the sculptures. If you like to see all the 51 sculptures you have to walk for a few hours. It can be extremely hot on the lake and you are very exposed so be prepared. Take enough water sun protection and good shoes for a longer walk along the sculptures. Close to the access point to Lake Ballard is a small hill in the lake from where you have beautiful views. It’s best to plan longer walks early in the morning or late afternoon because it can get very hot during midday.
How to get to Lake Ballard?
Lake Ballard is located 51 kilometers west of Menzies, a small township in the northern Goldfields region in Western Australia. The next bigger city is Kalgoorlie-Boulder, 130 kilometers along the Goldfields Highway to the south. Kalgoorlie-Boulder is 596 kilometers east of Perth and is the largest city of the Goldfields region.
It’s quite a trip, if you want to visit the sculptures from Perth. It’s about 770 kilometers. We visited Lake Ballard on our road trip along the Outback Way from Perth to Alice Springs.
The road from Menzies to Lake Ballard is mostly gravel but the road is in good condition.
Have you been to Australia’s largest open air art gallery on Lake Ballard? What other outdoor gallery can you recommend?