Highlands Hive /
The reimagined Highlands Hive began life in the Sixties as a potato shed. The Hive and The Big Potato next door are at the heart of Robertson, a town famed for its spud-loving soil.
The iconic Big Potato was officially named Australia’s worst big thing in 2022. Scores of tourists stop there each day for a photo and a giggle.
Hive visitors often feel they are discovering secret treasures amongst the labyrinth of laneways and passageways. A string of vibrant, creative businesses line the front. Hive Lane, always a throughfare for locals down the side of the building, has been opened up and Hive Arcade created. There you can literally smell the roses, the coffee and the massage oil. The western corner houses almost 200 square meters of laneway studio and gallery.
The potato shed has had its share of fame and controversy: the blockbuster movie Babe filmed the Hogget barn interiors and built its sets at the old potato shed in 1994.
Many artists, including Archibald Prize winner Ben Quilty, have had studios there. The floors are still spattered with his paint.
One of the strangest stories is about the fish ‘n’ chip shop that lasted three weeks in early 2018 before the shop’s owner was charged with assault and impersonating a police officer.
Multi-faceted sculptor, artist and jewellery designer Dr Bronwyn Berman is also the resident yoga teacher. Studio Bronwyn Berman incorporates a display space and open studio where Bronwyn interacts with customers in between designing and making.
Artists and gallerists Cat Doyle and Ric Abel consider Spud Lane Gallery their spiritual home. Warm and funky furnishings flow comfortably through the industrial setting with its smattering of opulence. They present their own work there alongside some of Australia’s heavyweights.
Second-generation dealer Megan Bird bought her first antique when she was still at school. She started Magpie to recycle her own pieces but got hooked. Megan enjoys the stories behind her wares and the joy her customers get when they find something special. She sells antiques and vintage and specialises in retro and Mid-century.
The owner of Flower Etiquette and Tea House, Vanessa Star, was classically trained by the Queen of England’s florist. Vanessa is passionate about creating beautiful and affordable arrangements and loves making great coffee and lavender scones from her grandmother’s recipe.
Printmaking Sisters Sisters Annie Day and Robin Ezra have also established Le Studio 74, which offers workshops, term-based classes and open access to equipment and knowledge. They have been teaching safe printmaking techniques for almost three decades in Australia and overseas, particularly waterless lithography and aluminium etching.
Accountant Zeke Ezra turned his 15-year-old hobby into a business at Penjing at Robertson. Zeke runs beginner bonsai courses and stocks penjing and bonsai plants, pots, tools and accessories for all levels, along with indoor and outdoor plants, pots and more.
Hot stones and walking on backs are a couple of dynamic methods Longying Pan employs in her massage therapy. Pan has a decade of experience in Thai and Chinese massage and is a nail technician.
The Local Nest offers a range of curated homewares, original local art, gifts and personal pamper products. The collection reflects the local Robertson environment: its rainforest, bush and famed red clay. Styling consultations and advice are also available.
Jennings Kerr doubled its gallery size after just 18 months of operation. It is committed to a dynamic program with leading Australian and early to mid-career artists and to working long-term with them. The gallery supports local artists and presents artists to the region that might not have otherwise been seen here.
The HIVE is next to the BIG POTATO..
74-76 Hoddle Street Robertson
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Facebook: Highlands Hive
Bronwyn Berman: Whisper