September 2020
Nillumbik Shire Council Approval
Media Release19 September 2020
Laughing Waters artist in residence program approval

Council this week unanimousley approved entering into a new lease agreement with Parks Victoria in order to support independent arts organisation, Residency Projects through a sub lease of the two properties involved in the program - “River Bend House” and “Birrarung House” both located on Laughing Waters Road in Eltham.

The properties at Laughing Waters - or Garambi Baan - are culturally and historically significant, with River Bend designed by Alistair Knox and Birrarung by Gordon Ford, two highly influential and important architects.

The Victorian Government’s recent approval of Planning Scheme Amendment (C125) again allows the use of the buildings for an artist residency program.

Residency Projects is being provided with $30,000 p/a in funding for the next five years.

Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan, who is Chair of Council’s Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee, said Laughing Waters was an exciting and significant project for the Shire.

“This is the icing on the cake for the Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee in terms of all it has achieved for the arts in the Shire, starting with the increase in funding for the Nillumbik Prize,” Cr Egan said.

Sugarloaf Ward Councillor Jane Ashton said an artist in residency program has been and will now continue to be a significant commitment to the artistic legacy of Nillumbik.

“It’s critical that we give emerging artists an inspirational space, surrounded by nature and close to the Yarra to explore their creativity,” Cr Ashton said.

“Laughing Waters is a very, very significant area and we owe it to the previous custodians of the land that we as a council value it.”

Cr Peter Clarke said the arrangement was four years in the making, requiring persistence and collaboration by all stakeholders.

“This artist in residency program has generated some very important art projects in its time,” Cr Clarke said.

“I’m hopeful the next generation of this program will link with the Wurundjeri, which is an important step forward.

“This is the culmination of much effort but it has been well worth it. The local community values the arts highly and understands its importance in the cultural, social and economic sense so it is a great pleasure for us as a Council to bring this initiative back to life.”

C125-nill approval
We are delighted to have received planning approval for the two buildings at Garambi Baan/Laughing Waters. This is a welcome outcome and we extend our thanks to the the Minister for Planning the Hon. Richard Wynne MP as well as the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP).

Residency Projects is pleased to have been approved for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status as a result of the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts and the Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters having approved Residency Projects Inc’s application to be entered on the Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO). The organisation’s public fund, Residency Projects Public Fund, became eligible to receive tax deductible donations on 9 April 2020.

Residency Projects was on site at Laughing Waters with renowned architectural photographer and artists, John Gollings AM. John spent the afternoon documenting both of the Alistair Knox buildings at Garambi Baan/Laughing Waters Residency Centre, River Bend House (formerly the Cuming House) and Boomerang House, as well as Graham Rose and Gordon Ford’s Birrarung House and garden.


Photograph © Kerry Cross
Maudie Palmer AO joins Residency Projects to oversee the Residency Projects Public Fund and provide strategic advice to Residency Projects around philanthropy and governance. Maudie was Founding Director of Heide Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), TarraWarra Museum of Art and Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park. 

April 2019
Residency Projects is pleased to have been accepted by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) onto the charity register. This enables Residency Projects to receive Tax Charity Concessions (TCC) from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Minister for Creative Industries, Hon. Martin Foley MP, awards Residency Projects infrastructure funding for the restroation of the historic Laughing Waters buildings.

Dec 2018
Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation enters partnership with Residency Projects to achieve and maintian dual use of the Garambi Baan/Laughing Waters Residency Centre.

Residency Projects partners with Nillumbik Shire Council to deliver and run a rejuvenated Laughing Waters artist in residence program, transforming into the new Garambi Baan/Laughing Waters Residency Centre in partnership with Wurundjeri Woi wurrung.

An essay published in Art+Australia by Abbra Kotlarczyk on the Boorhaman Residency Program. 

An interview with Boorhaman Residency Program artist Chaco Kato, published in Garland Magazine.

An article in the Wangaratta Chronicle profiling the Boorhaman Residency Program’s exhibition at Wangaratta Art Gallery.

An article in the Wangaratta Chronicle on the Boorhaman Residency Program’s artists and workshops.

Residency Projects is pleased to have secured a licence contract for the dis-used Boorhaman Primary School from the State Government of Victoria’s Department of Education and Training. We thank the department for their support.


We acknowledge and pay respect to Traditional Custodians across Australia, as the original custodians of land and waters. We acknowledge their unique ability to care for Country and deep spiritual connection to it. We honour Elders past, present and becomming.

©2020 Residency Projects Inc.