Traralgon and District Art Society and wondering about the future.

On the Friday of the last pre-season game of St.Kilda and Collingwood, I found myself journeying again with my Art Society.  We had Heather, a Collingwood supporter and our organisational inspiration, a retired lawyer, life model and Rotary organiser extraordinaire, Lilian, our Glen Eira Artists Society President, designer, painter and life drawing organiser, our Treasurer Regina, a passionate Russian born artist and new grandmother, and myself, the new VP of our Society, photographer of events and footy freak.  We were heading to Traralgon via V-Line.  We met each other at 9.45am at Caulfield Station.  Train travel is usually reserved for my footy, but this is a country train and a comfortable, quiet journey ensued.

I sat contemplating my busy and somewhat difficult week, knitting, reading, being alone with my thoughts.  The others were busy in conversation with others on the train, drawing and looking out the window.  Within two hours, we were there, and after buying lunch and quickly eating, we headed over the very steep and wet bridge of Traralgon Railway Station to the Art Society building.  Bright red rosellas were eating from a tree that we were level with, and I went to take photos but found my camera battery dead, so that would have to wait.  They were gone on our return.

Think of any old local railway building we all grew up with (I’m in my fifties) and that’s what the Traralgon and District Art Society building was, but it’s had work done to transform it from a country railway station of old, to a work space for 80 local and district artist members, and a small sunny gallery, with some office space and a kitchen.  It was set up in 1998 and was in need of a bit of spit and polish and a paint job on the outside.

Inside was all the evidence of years of practice by the locals, photographic boards full of photos showing important events and moments in history, notices, signs, information. Paintings for sale on every available space on walls.  It was a warm friendly atmosphere, and we were greeted by the locals who shared sweet breads and biscuits and coffee and tea and the history of how this place came about. I recharged my batteries for the camera and took lots of photos of the space and people. Then some of the participants went back to their Friday ritual and were drawing fuller shaped figures with the correct shading, while we sat and listened to the two long term members tell us their story.  As usual with any organisation, you sensed that a few did the majority of work that helped the greater group of people, and that those who had done this work in the past were still the old sloggers doing the work in the present.  What would happen in the future, I wondered to myself, when these 75 years old feisty women were no longer able.  Are there current members of a younger age coming through to continue with the heritage and life of such an venture?  Or is the age of volunteerism changing as some say.  Are people too stressed and busy or preoccupied now to take over the reins?

The gallery and art space was testament to a group of people with a common purpose working towards a goal and then maintaining it over time.  Local council areas and regions change, funding changes, government changes, funding possibilities change, and people come and go, peoples energy or physical abilities come and go. Visitors come and go, as we did three hours later, when we again boarded the train home to Caulfield.  We were full of what we’d seen.  Perhaps it was my mood but I thought of what a lot of hard work embarking on such projects are, to get them up and running and to keep an active role.  Our Glen Eira Artists Society is only two years old, less than 30 members, and probably about 8 who are active and busy as organisers, and it is hard to foresee such a future for us, but it is being prepared for and little steps will be made before the big.

I shut my eyes and was quiet again on the way home, we put plastic rain coats on the set ahead of us and were able to put our feet up.  Regina continues to draw, Heather also rests and all is quiet for a while until the afternoon train fills up with school kids going home and I slowly come back to life.

I have bought my radio, the one I take to the footy usually, and from 4pm I begin trying to listen to the last pre-season practice run, but until Pakenham I only get static. Perhaps static all the way would have been better, but that can be said in hindsight as I write. Then, there was poor reception gradually improving.  I have my big headphones on and can no longer hear the happy chatter of kids but the dismal scores:  SEN tells me it’s  Pies 24 points, Saints 2.  This is into the second quarter, and dreams of taking it up to Collingwood or any of the other powerful, in form teams (like the West Coast) seem to fall with a thud, as did Lenny Hayes who had been knocked out cold.  As the sound clears, the Saints continue to flounder, but a moment comes that sees 2.2 kicked for the Saints, at least goals were scored.  We are lucky that Collingwood are again inaccurate, half times scores have Pies 5.10 40, to Saints 2.4  16. Nick Maxwell is hurt for Collingwood.  I listen despondently, take out my knitting and continue to attend to the struggle.  My phone is on silent (from the meeting) and I fail to hear the desperate, angry calls of my grumpy eldest who is picking me up from Caulfield and we are later than expected.  There is still 10 minutes to wait until we arrive, I farewell my fellow artists and travellers and scurry off to said daughter, we sort of relax at home half listening to the footy while filling each other in.  Or while she de-stresses from a day of unexpected car maintenance bills and housemate problems and problems that feel big and overwhelming until you have eaten pizza, beaten your mother at several games of canasta, and had a hit of the table tennis balls.  By the end of the evening, with no sugar yummy ice-cream, we are sated and not really caring that we lost by 43 points.  It could have been much worse, with the Pies 10.20 80 and the Saints 6.11 47.

We do not know where our Society will go and develop, we do not know what success the Saints may or may not have, we don’t know so much about what will happen next, but good contacts were made, a trip was had, my daughter and I had fun together and relaxed after busy, varied and to say the least, interesting days, and the footy proper is only just two weeks away.

The future is already upon us.  May it be a good one for all.

P.S.  If you are passing through Traralgon, please drop in and have a look around.  Say hello from me.


Yvette Wroby

17th March 2012

About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it's about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.


  1. Yvonne – very nice read. I have to go to Bendigo in a few weeks and when I go there I will call in on a lovely lady called Helena Robertson-Collins. She’s a painter. If I had the money I could buy just about everything she hangs.You should look her up.I’m sure she’s on the net.

  2. Yvette – sorry I just realised I typed “Yvonne” above. I was rushing out the door to a family function!Regards

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