Show-off holiday post: a weekend in Bendigo

As soon as the Marimekko exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery was announced, I started making plans with a group of friends. It quickly morphed from a ‘day trip to Bendigo’ to three days of loveliness.

The exhibition:

One word: swoon.

More words: Marimekko made history by ‘liberating’ women’s fashion in the 1950s from cinched waists and fitted bodices to free-flowing shapes, relaxed dresses and well-placed, practical pockets (I LOVE dresses with pockets…). Noted for bright colours and strong prints, Marimekko’s designs have reached iconic status and the prints are instantly recognisable.

Helsinki’s Design Museum loaned the Bendigo Art Gallery more than 60 vintage outfits, yards and yards of textiles, homewares, sketches, and other archival material for the exhibition. It was arranged so that the story of Marimekko unfolded as you moved from room to room.

The most striking thing about the collection was the fact that with each piece came exclamations of ‘I love that!’ and ‘I’d wear that in a heartbeat!’. And in fact, that’s exactly what we do/ can do. The prints are still available and Marimekko continues to make extraordinarily comfortable and beautiful clothes. So while the show featured vintage pieces, it was still very much current – testament to great design.

Now all I have to do is take a trip on Finnair.

The food (in order of eating):

It’s going to sound like this trip was all about the food… Truly, it wasn’t (ahem).

  • Malmsbury Bakery – in my long-ago days of working in regional Victoria, a visit to the Malmsbury Bakery was essential if you were in the vicinity. At the time, a colleague was in charge of one of the earliest GPS mapping tools, and he put together a database that rated sausage rolls and vanilla slices all over regional Victoria (this is obviously not what the GPS tool was intended for but you have to admire the initiative). Malmsbury was the winner. So, twenty years later as I made my friends take a Malmsbury detour, I was suddenly worried it might not be the same… The verdict? ‘That was the best sausage roll I have ever eaten’ and, regarding the vanilla slice, ‘I just can’t stop eating it.’
  • Mason’s – everything on the menu looked delicious and because we couldn’t decide, we let the chef feed us. Highlights were the figs, zucchini flowers, lamb rump and roasted pumpkin. Special mention must be made of the insane dessert tasting plate – it tasted even better than it looked.

  • Harvest – I think it’s fair to say that the croissant I ate for breakfast was one of the best I’ve ever had. Huge. And very buttery. So, so good.
  • The Woodhouse – choose your steak, add béarnaise sauce. What more could you ask for? Nothing (except dessert).
  • Percy & Percy – a cute story and damn fine scrambled eggs set us up for a day of antiquing. Mention must be made of the extraordinary potato croquette that called itself a hash brown.

The accommodation:

  • Tara, a Homeaway property (preferable to a hotel when you’re away with friends because you can sit around in pjs, chatting). It was a great choice – everything we needed, well located and excellent, comfortable beds.

The other stuff:

If you like browsing antiques, Bendigo is a good choice – we found some treasures (including a vintage $4 Charles and Di engagement teatowel) at the huge barn-like store at Bendigo Pottery. We also added things to the wishlist at Valentine’s.

Despite it being a girls’ weekend, not a single scented candle or scarf was purchased! However, some damage* was done (perhaps of the Marimekko variety) at The Meadow.

There are oodles of lovely little galleries and boutiques around the Arts precinct but the one I need to come back to (with a plan and a budget) is Libris (a traditional bindery).

All in all, a fab weekend.

*it’s an investment!

13 responses

  1. Kate what a wonderful trip! I LOVE the dresses. I can’t stand all these slinky form fitting knit dresses and shirts and leggings nowadays. Woman should revolt! Or is that just here in the US?

    • When I read the Malmsbury Bakery history, it suggested they’d been owned by the same people for a little over 25 years – so you were ahead of the curve Bill and clearly knew you were onto a good thing! If you’re ever in the area, know that it s still just as good.

  2. Oh what a lovely lovely weekend. I love girls’ weekends. I hadn’t heard about this exhibition but would love to go. The Bendigo Art Gallery is a great gallery isn’t it?

    And yes, I have such fold memories of the Marimekko days and have loved seeing it return to popularity in the last couple of years.

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