La Trobe Art Institute

'unbranded' installation view, La Trobe Art Institute, 2019. Photo by Ian Hill.

La Trobe Art Institute (LAI) seeks to position La Trobe University (LTU) as a significant cultural institution within the wider creative industries ecosystem. LAI is responsible for innovative research, curating, collecting, exhibiting and learning, through engagement with La Trobe University’s creative and academic communities.

All LAI programs are led by arts practice and cultural discourse, rather than curatorial proscription. Artworks are not illustrative elements in a curatorial narrative but are the principal creative components of program outcomes. Curatorial practice is a form onto itself but arts practice is never a subsidiary partner in the relationship.

LAI takes a holistic approach that seeks to embed a symbiotic suite of outputs necessary in the academic environment of a University. By leading collaborations with our academic peers, LAI encourages visual-learners from a broad field of interests to discover new approaches to their academic disciplines. Public and educative programming is an integrated component of the exhibition schedule and celebrates the intrinsic value of art and artefacts, whilst also understanding that art has the capacity to speak to all disciplines. 

Permanent Collection

LAI is custodian of the LTU Cultural Collections, comprising: The La Trobe University Art Collection (including the Bundoora Campus Sculpture Park and the Etta Hirsh Ceramics collection), The Ethnographic Collection, The Trendall Collection, The Stewart E. Fraser Poster Collection, The F.M. Courtis Collection (Bendigo) and The Geoff Raby Collection of Chinese Art.

Collecting at La Trobe began in 1958 when F.M Courtis , Head of the Bendigo Teachers College (now part of La Trobe University) established a teaching collection of Australian Art. These 350 artworks are housed and displayed primarily in the Education Building of the University’s Bendigo campus. An important resource for Bendigo, it provides the opportunity for students to have close and continued contact with quality artworks, thus creating an enriched environment for their learning and broader personal development.

The La Trobe University Art Collection began in 1966, before construction of the first buildings commenced at the site of the University’s major campus at Bundoora. Recognising the importance of an art collection within an educational environment, the University’s Master Architect, Dr Roy Simpson, AO, incorporated the installation and display of art works into his overall vision for La Trobe. Today the La Trobe University Art Collection is considered a major public art collection, comprising over 2,400 post war and contemporary Australian art works. The collection covers most media and periods of Australian art. It includes the largest holding of works by the Australian Surrealist Bernard Boles, expatriate artist Allen David and the Etta Hirsh Ceramics Collection which consists of over 300 pieces. 

The Ethnographic Collection comprises mainly of gifts from generous donors of artefacts and paintings collected from Papua New Guinea and Australia, plus items collected on field trips by academics. 

The Trendall Collection of Antiquities includes fine examples of complete vessels, fragments and objects reflective of Professor Trendall’s research interests.

The Stewart E. Fraser Poster Collection is one of the largest of its kind. It contains close to 3,000 posters, predominately from China, as well as examples from Russia and Vietnam.

The Larundel Collection, features more than 1400 artworks created by the patients of the Larundel Psychiatric Hospital during the period 1987-1997, comprised predominantly of works on paper (along with a small number of paintings, and collaborative works created on bedsheets).

The Geoff Raby Collection of Chinese Art highlights works by more than seventy artists, including Ah Xian, An Kun, Chen Man, Chen Wenling, Feng Ling, Gonkar Gyatso, Guan Wei, Guo Jian, Laurens Tan, Li Jin, Liu Zhuoquan, Luo Brothers, Shen Jaiwei, Shen Shaomin, Shi Jianmin, Tan Yifeng, Wang Yawei, Wang Zhiyuan, Wei Ping, Xiao Lu, Xu Zhongmin, Yang Qian, and Zhao Gang.

Online collection
getting to the gallery

Bendigo is approximately 150 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, the LAI Gallery is located in View Street, in the heart of the Bendigo arts precinct.

V-Line offers a regular rail service to Bendigo; the LAI is an easy 1 kilometre walk through central Bendigo from the station. Parking is available in the street; the nearest public car park is located behind the Capital Theatre (turn right at the View Street roundabout).

The main entrance to the LAI gallery is from View Street. There is also rear access for loading and unloading, accessed from a laneway off Rowan St.


The building is fully wheelchair accessible and has a platform lift between the two levels. Disabled visitor access is readily available from the front and rear of the building and there are toilet facilities for the disabled.

Cover image: Autoluminescent installation view, La Trobe Art Institute, 2019. Photo by Ian Hill. 
Above image: unbranded installation view, La Trobe Art Institute, 2019. Photo by Ian Hill. 

La Trobe Art Institute
121 View Street
Bendigo VIC 3550
T: 03 5441 8724
W: latrobe.edu.au/art-institute

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturdays: 12noon - 5pm

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The Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the lands where our office is located, and all Traditional Owners of country throughout Victoria and Australia. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enduring traditions and continuing creative cultures. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.