Lots of mysticism on 1000 Doors

August 21, 2021 BY

Knock knock: 1000 Doors opens later in August. Photo: FILE

WHEN the city’s newest interactive public art installation, 1000 Doors, opens later this month, there’ll be a touch of the dark arts included.

As part of the exhibit, which is made up of a labyrinth of doors and rooms and set for Armstrong Street South next to Town Hall, an academic has included elements and markings said to ward off evil spirits.

“When people came to Australia in the goldrush and of course in the earlier era of transportation, the bulk of the people who came here originated in poorer rural sectors of Britain,” said Federation University anthropologist Dr David Waldron.

“These people brought much of their old folk traditions and beliefs with them. This included a wide array of folk customs, medicines, and rituals, many of which were designed to protect the home and loved ones from evil spirits and death.

“There is evidence of these old folk beliefs in the walls of early to mid-19th century homes and outbuildings in the form of concealed objects, such as poppets [dolls], witch bottles and boots, and marks to ward off evil on thresholds and fireplaces, such as hexafoils, spectacle marks and VV for the Virgin Mary [Veneratus Virginum].

“The people who made these marks and were consulted on these matters were known as ‘cunning women’.”

1000 Doors was set two weeks ago but delayed due to lockdowns and City of Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney said the marks would add more to the experience.

“1000 Doors already promises to be one of the most interesting installations ever seen in Ballarat, and these witch marks will add an extra historic touch to the atmosphere,” he said.

Construction on the exhibit started this week, while the installation is open to the public from 25 August to 3 October. Entry is $10 with under fives and over 75s free.

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