Imagining how locked down locals might ‘go out’ whilst ‘staying in’. We created a virtual tour of the grounds of Australia’s oldest artist colony, in a time when our communities are in need of curious and positive civic experiences.

Virtual Tour Content Design for Montsalvat Artist Colony


Bec Nally, Creative Director
Jason Rohmursanto, Designer
Hilary Walker, Photography


Dr Jacqueline Ogeil, Executive Director, Montsalvat
Lachlan Sutherland, Assistant Curator, Montsalvat


Supported by Nillumbik Shire Council and Public Journal

Completed 2020

There is nothing quite like Montsalvat. Within the grounds of Australia’s oldest artist colony lives many intriguing stories. In every direction there is art — old, new and in progress; unique architecture; and diverse creative works produced by the many artist residents of the past and present.

When the grounds were closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, Public Journal saw an opportunity to collect and share histories and fables of this unique community treasure and develop an online series for people to experience.

With the support of Nillumbik Shire Council, Public Journal were pleased to partner with Montsalvat to design a virtual tour of significant areas within the expansive grounds.


Public Journal worked with Montsalvat to develop a framework for the virtual experience — focussing on eight significant areas within the artist colony and discovering a diverse set of stories within each location. These stories were highlighted with a suite of customised iconography, rendered with blackletter strokes to compliment Montsalvat’s well known logotype.

Public Journal commissioned photographer Hilary Walker to capture 360° sequences of eight significant locations across the grounds. Each panorama was carefully shot at dawn in 15° increments to enable the final sequence to be developed into a range of digital formats.

Hilary was also commissioned to capture a series of stand alone photographs, which depicted the diverse set of stories contributed by Montsalvat volunteers.


From the original entry where the beloved admissions lady sat every day for over twenty years, dressed like the queen, all knowing of comings and goings as she tended to her artwork between entries and exits; to the first toilet on the property that is now the cheese room — Montsalvat is no ordinary place.

Public Journal enjoyed discovering the many eccentricities of this creative community and are proud to support an arts initiative of such unique value in these times.

The content of the tour was designed to be housed within Montsalvat’s existing website. A series of videos lead the user to each area where the hero 360° panorama can be experienced in full screen on desktop or via motion orientation on mobile devices. Iconography within the images signals further detail, which is anchored by a customised key, leading to each of the volunteer’s stories.

Through this partnership, Public Journal were able to discuss, prompt and implement acknowledgement of the Wurundjeri Country the artist colony was built on.

We learned that the word Nillumbik comes from the Aboriginal word ‘nyilumbik’, which translates to red dirt or stupid! Our Creative Director now enjoys calling herself a nyilumbik resident, the irony of the label, of her whiteness, with so much more to learn about being here on unceded lands, encapsulated in that word.

Whilst we all play our part to flatten the curve, we encourage you to take the tour and learn about this intriguing artist colony, perched on the red dirt of Wurundjeri Country and home to many great Australian artists past and present.