The Australian Centre for Rare Arts & Forgotten Trades is a place to learn and preserve Australia’s rare arts and trades through a series of workshops, masterclasses, events and residencies.

The Australian Centre for Rare Arts & Forgotten Trades (Rare Trades Centre for short) was established in 2022 as a place dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of rare skills, knowledge and practice to ensure the language of ‘making’ in Australia is not lost to history and remains alive and accessible for future generations.  

Industrialisation, mass production and globalised markets have had a huge impact on Australia’s ‘making’ industries with skills and knowledge that were once commonplace, now rare.  

The Rare Trades Centre is a place dedicated to safeguarding this important part of Australia’s national heritage and offers public programming including workshops, masterclasses, events and residencies. 

Located on Wadawurrung Country, Ballarat our world-class facilities for wood-working, metalworking, fashion & textiles, leather and decorative arts reside in a building alongside 150,000 objects in the Australian Centre for Gold Rush Collections.  

The Centre for Rare Arts & Forgotten Trades is a not-for-profit organisation and part of the Sovereign Hill Museums Association.

The Rare Trades Centre aims to:

  • Provide a world class education facility in traditional trades, crafts and skills
  • Encourage innovation and exploration
  • Offer a specialist alternative to workshops and advanced training in specialist trades
  • Give everyone the opportunity to learn traditional and heritage skills
  • Create an environment that champions traditional and heritage arts and trades

Why are trades important

Thanks to Global Footprint Network, a research organisation that helps countries manage natural resources and respond to climate change, if everyone lived and consumed resources like Australians do, the years’ worth of resources on the planet would be used up by March 12. Or, put in other terms we would need 5.2 Earths for every year of life. 

It is not possible to continue the consumerist path we are taking filled with throw away items, cheap plastics, landfill, low value, low quality items. Our future must contain an investment into human capability and the ability to make things that last. 

We think everyone has the potential to create and contribute to the enduring legacy of human skill and in doing so create a more sustainable future with an emphasis on buying things only once. If we don’t invest in our collective ability to make and create, we will be looking at a future where we are powerless to affect positive change.

The build of the Australian Centre for Rare Arts & Forgotten Trades and the Australian Centre for Gold Rush Collections has been funded through the Australian Federal Government’s National Tourism Icons Program.