9th April 2019

Exploring RONE Exhibition, Burnham Beeches, Sherbrooke

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My daughter and I were lucky enough to obtain tickets to the RONE Empire exhibition last month.   Some of the photos I took are here.   But first some history for those that don't know .......

Burnham Beeches is an iconic Art Deco mansion and garden estate located in Sherbrooke, which is about 45 minutes east of Melbourne.   The Mansion  was built between 1931-33 for Alfred Nicholas, a wealthy industrialist.   The vast three storey mansion, built in reinforced concrete, is a rare, elaborate example of its type in Australia and comparable with such works that can be found in Britain and the United States. 

Alfred Nicholas died in 1937 and the family offered up the home for use as a 50 bed children’s hospital between the years of 1941 and 1944, seeing some alterations undertaken to the building.   The mansion was vacant between 1944 and 1948 before Alfred Nicholas’s widow returned to the residence in 1949 following renovations and refurbishment. 


In 1955 the mansion was leased to the Nicholas Institute who operated their medical and veterinary research facilities at the site until 1981. 


By 1965 the large extent of the landscaped gardens proved difficult to maintain, and the lake with 32 acres of garden was donated to the Shire of Sherbrooke (now the Yarra Ranges Shire Council) and renamed the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens. 


In 1981 the mansion was sold and operated as a small hotel for about a decade.  The property has been largely unoccupied for the last 25 years.  In 2014, it was purchased by celebrity chef Shannon Bennett and Adam Garrison who have plans to transform the mansion into a luxury hotel.


Melbourne street artist RONE aka Tyrone Wright first heard about this mansion when Shannon Bennett suggested he use it as a canvas. 


It took a year to transform twelve rooms in the mansion where more than 500 pieces of furniture and decorations were hand picked and curated to reflect a story of time gone by, and includes huge murals of actor Lily Sutherland in various emotional states.  


The result was the Empire exhibition, RONE's most ambitious project yet which provides an experience that combines art, vision, sound, light, botanical design and scent.


Enjoying viewing the many images I captured on the day of viewing.