For those of you who happen to be Western Australia, or planning a visit, if you’re struggling for ideas of things to do, you simply must make sure that you visit the enigmatic Lake Ballard. Lake Ballard is a salt lake located within the Shire of Menzies. Now, to some, spending the day walking around an ephemeral salt lake may not sound all that enthralling, but there’s a twist…
The Inside Australia Exhibition
Back in 2003, renowned Turner Prize-winning artist Antony Gormley, was commissioned to create and install 51 sculptures on the bed of the lake. His exhibition was to be known as ‘Inside Australia’, and the sculptures were based upon local inhabitants. This was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Perth International Arts Festival. The sculptures were spread out over an area of just over 10 sq KM.
The initial idea was for the statues to be removed when the festival reached its conclusion, but they proved to be such an enormous hit, that they were kept, and they remain there to this day. Spaced around 750 meters away from one another, across the flat surface of the dried up lake, in the distance, visitors should just be able to make out the humanoid silhouette of the next sculpture. There is no explanation for each piece, so visitors are encouraged to come up with their own interpretations for what the artist was trying to say with each unique piece.
Helpful Tips for your first visit
If you are planning on visiting, you will need to plan ahead, so here are some handy tips to help get you started:
Allow for an entire day
If you are planning on visiting Lake Ballard and wish to see as many of the sculptures as possible, please ensure that you allow for an entire day. There will be a lot of travel time involved, plus of course, you will then want to get around the lake and see the sculptures.
As mentioned, there is a lot of travelling involved to reach Lake Ballard, so ideally, so that you aren’t rushing to get back, why not consider camping? For the ultimate outback experience, things don’t get much better than this. There is even a campsite located there, complete with toilets.
Try to visit at sunrise or sunset
If camping, this will allow you the perfect opportunity to see the sculptures in an entirely different light. As the sun is just rising or setting, the sculptures have an increasingly eerie presence, especially when you look up and can just make out the stick-thin humanoid figure of the next one in the distance. It is also much cooler at these times.
Take plenty of food and water
In the summer, it can get scorching hot, and dehydration can be a risk. Pack at least 1.5 litres of water per person, and ideally keep it cool in a cool bag. Again, keep food cool, and stick with picnic basics such as sandwiches.
Dress according to the seasons
In the summer, the lake of the bed can be dust dry, and as hard as a rock if there hasn’t been much rain. In the winter and during wetter periods however, the ground can turn into thick, muddy clay that will stick to your clothes and shoes. For this reason, it is recommended that you don’t dress overly smart, and that you wear appropriate footwear. When the ground is muddy, people often wrap their shoes in plastic bags, so that is also worth considering.