Australian Art Addict

Meet Suzannah Surtees.

She definitely wants to meet you.

Suzannah loves art. When we say loves, you have NO idea until you visit her home in Wallameroo, Queensland in Australia.

The picket fence is invisible to the eye, as are the front gate, door, walls, roof and pretty much everything else. And that’s just on the outside.

The entire property is covered with art. Australian art.

“When Suzannah was four years old she tried to steal an entire art installation from the Wallameroo Art Gallery,” recalls her mom, Betty, 57. “I realized something was awry when she asked me for a screwdriver.”

Betty now helps Suzannah as a deputy-curator-cum-saleswoman in the gift shop, which was originally Suzannah’s parking garage.

While most of the art on display is in oil, statues and other modern installations pepper the home and massive yard.

I’m Sorry I Looked Down on You is a 7-foot cane, carved from an indigo tree that belonged to 19th-Century Aboriginal leader Bambam Dural (or Yellow Valley). Artist Jed Cantrall says he created the piece “to remind colonialists of our crimes.”

But not everything chez Suzannah is doom and gloom or dwells on the past.

Sydney Harbour Bridge circa 2087 is a painting that literally covers Suzannah’s antique porcelain bathtub. The work uses a variety of blues to bring to life the water in a stunningly realisticway.

“It’s almost like being in Sydney, only smaller,” says Angelina Beresford, visiting from Texas.

And what of Suzannah. Reporter-shy she may be but she still had a word of advice for tourists.

“Come,” she says, as she replaces a Brett Whiteley with That’s My School, a painting by 11-year-old Pippa Bertram from Perth.

The Surtees Gallery is open 6 am – 11 pm 364 days a year. And no, it’s not closed Christmas Day but rather May 1 when Suzannah and Betty head for the last remaining maypole south of the Equator. Wallameroo lies between Gladstone and Rockampton on the A1. Just ask anyone in town and they’ll tell you how to find the Sutees’ place. Hotel accommodation is available via www.travelopediyak.com.

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