As Sylvia Plath stated in her poem “Lady Lazarus:” “Dying / Is an art, like everything else.”
Founded in 2017 by contemporary artist Hayley West, the Departure is a studio, gallery, and shop dedicated to death. It’s one of the many studios and businesses located at the Mill Castlemaine, a grounds for local vendors about 90 minutes from Melbourne in the Goldfields region of Victoria.
West says the Departure is a space to ponder mortality and encounter death-themed artworks and events. She believes in empowering the community by sharing practical knowledge through exchange and generosity.
West is a Death Literacy Advocate who also co-hosts Death Cafes in Castlemaine. As well as showcasing her own work and the work of other artists, the Departure holds a great a collection of animal skulls (non-native to Australia), death related books, and coffins and cremation urns.
While it can be confronting for some, the Departure is a family friendly (human and furry) space. Children are welcome and often enjoy the projects they can participate in.
Update: the Departure closed at this location in November 2017. It currently has no permanent address.
Know Before You Go
There's plenty of parking at The Mill. It's a short walk from the train station and the center of town.