Black Saturday and rural life

An installation reflecting the personal experience of Alex Fettling, a survivor of last year’s tragic bush fires, and works on paper telling a tale of yearning and alienation in rural Victoria will feature at La Trobe University’s Visual Arts Centre in Bendigo.

Fettling artwork

The front gallery has been transformed by an installation presented by senior lecturer and coordinator in the School of Visual Arts and Design at La Trobe University’s Mildura campus, Neil Fettling. Neil has worked with his son, Alex, a survivor of the Black Saturday bush fires, to present the installation, entitled Clandestine.

The installation comprises more than 200 salvaged, burnt objects from 60 Sparrowhawk Road, Bendigo, the former Fettling/Allan residence. 

Neil describes the installation as “blackened, charred and disfigured objects … synonymous with any domestic family dwelling, ranging from the utilitarian to the deeply personal.”

‘I acknowledge my son, Alex, who through the often confronting moments of discovery, elation, and of course despair while sifting through  his life remains in the ashscape of 60 Sparrowhawk Road, has himself, emerged,’ said Neil.

Recent Works on Paper is the title of a second exhibition in the Access Gallery at the Visual Arts Centre.

Award winning artist, David Frazer, said the series of etchings, wood engravings and lithography capture a personal expression of his life as a boy growing up in a small country town. The landscapes, townscapes and empty spaces in David’s images tell the story of simplicity and innocence of rural life.

‘The work is about loneliness and a yearning to be somewhere else… a yearning for a life that no longer exists,’ said David.

A series of 15 images featuring a dog is a narrative about a country misfit who heads off to the city, fails miserably and comes back to where he started from.
Clandestine runs from 6 January to 14 February and will be officially launched on Thursday 7 January by Cr Rod Campbell, Mayor, City of Greater Bendigo at the Visual Arts Centre in View Street.

David Frazer’s Recent Works on Paper runs from 6 – 31 January, with the official opening on Saturday 9 January.

More information on the exhibitions and gallery hours are available at



1) Official launch of Clandestine by Cr Rod Campbell, Mayor, City of Greater Bendigo, 6 pm – 8pm, Thursday 7 January 2010.

2) Official opening of David Frazer’s Recent Works on Paper,
2 pm – 4 pm, Saturday 9 January 2010.


La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre, 121 View Street, Bendigo, Victoria.

NB: Images from both exhibitions are available on request.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Paul Northam, Managing Curator, La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre,
Ph (03) 5441 8724 M 0408 65 888 E 


Zerin Knight, Media Liaison, La Trobe University, Bendigo campus,
Ph (03) 5444 7375 F +613 5444 7526 M 0428 463 161 E