By Melissa McCullough
The sun is shining, and the family desperately needs some outside, leg-stretching time. Just nearby exists a popular spot for nature lovers, families, art enthusiasts and even their canine friends. McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery is set amongst 16 hectares of natural bushland with over 90 significant sculptures, an art gallery and Harry’s Bistro with a menu which has been crafted to celebrate the wonderful produce of this region and showcase some of the clever producers of the Mornington Peninsula.
We grabbed a couple of takeaway coffees and hot chocolates and headed straight outdoors. Everyone is welcome at McClelland and they love seeing families and children exploring the gallery and park.
There are plenty of shady spots to set-up a picnic, watch the ducks on the lake and enjoy art with nature. Be mindful though, the gorgeous sculptures, as tempting as it may be, are not for climbing.
Our walk began first with gazing up at Phil Price’s large-scale sculpture, The Tree of Life, which was originally located near the Peninsula Link Cranbourne Road exit and now resides in all its wind-activated, kinetic glory at the park. The kids had only ever seen this work as we whizzed by in the car on the side of the highway.
Awe and amazement ensued while standing under this 14-metre tall, manmade, seemingly living tree swaying its branches overhead.
From there we started our adventures through the bushy paths, eagerly anticipating which sculpture would be waiting for us around the next bend. Being the only gallery in Australia dedicated to sculpture and spatial practice, McClelland prides itself on showcasing the value of Australian culture through a focus on sculpture and its connection to the environment. What does that mean to our kids? It means there is plenty of space to walk, run, skip and let the sillies out. For the adults, it means strolling through the pathways talking about the artworks, our interpretations of them and how they made us all feel. One, specifically, made us feel like popcorn.
After spending a couple of hours wandering around the property we found ourselves back at the start.
A wonderful way to spend some tech-free time together, (don’t come at me, someone had to be official photographer! ), we left feeling very fortunate to have access to what McClelland describes as, ‘A unique, discovery-based experience of iconic Australian art and sculpture in an open air environment within a safe and welcoming setting’ on the edge of the Mornington Peninsula.
As a not-for-profit organisation, McClelland relies largely on the support of visitors to help conserve and build the collection, curate inspiring exhibitions and public programs, and care for the beautiful sculpture park and bushland setting for all to enjoy. Adults aged 18+ are charged a $6 entrance fee. They also offer a range of fun activities and workshops for children during school holiday periods. A truly family-friendly setting, baby changing facilities are available inside the gallery building and the kids breakfast menu at Harry’s is sure to get their motors running.
Gallery Opening Hours
Wednesday to Sunday: 10am–4pm. Closed on Monday, Tuesday, Good Friday and 25–26 of December.
Harry’s Cafe Opening Hours
Thursday – Saturday 10am-4pm
390 McClelland Drive, Langwarrin