What do John Wayne, Marlon Brando, George Harrison, Andy Warhol, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Picasso all have in common? All were known for having dachshunds.
People from within and beyond the Wimmera now have the chance to find out about the quirky short-legged, long-bodied species and their notable owners, with the opening of Now Dachs A Gallery in Edenhope.
Owner and manager Diana-Lee Saville, who moved to town from Smythesdale near Ballarat six years ago, opened the doors on Elizabeth Street on January 20.
She said she had been making money off the quirky dog breed for a decade.
Im an artist, so I draw a lot of sketches and I started doing cartoony dachshunds and was selling them as t-shirts, she said.
(Then) I found out a dachshund museum had opened up in Germany, and I thought Id love to go there, but I cant leave the country: Ive got too many animals to look after.
Ms Saville also owns a kelpie, a corgi cross and five welsh mountain ponies on a horse stud just out of the West Wimmera town.
So I thought Why dont I start one up in Edenhope?. We need more tourism in town, we need people to stop, and what better way than having something quirky and that you wouldnt expect to see in the middle of the desert (sic)?
As it happened, her partner Rodney Eden was looking at buying a shopfront with residences in town last year. They worked out an arrangement where he owns the building and she rents the space from him.
While securing council approval to set up the gallery, Ms Saville also took a small business course the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme in Horsham between September and December.
It was run by Melbourne's RMIT University and the Centre for Participation, and Ms Saville says she uses what she learnt there regularly in her new business.
In the long term, she has plans to hold cartoon drawing workshops at the gallery and convert the residencies at the back of the property into accommodation. But for now Ms Saville is focused on marketing the gallery to tourists across Australia and the world.
(I plan to do it) mostly via social media. If I had the money Id spend it on advertising everywhere, but its just not going to happen right now, she said.
Ms Savilles new enterprise follows a surge in dachshund registrations nationwide.
Australian National Kennel Council data suggests between 2014 and 2016, registrations increased by 462 per cent .
I think its turned into a bit of a cult, she said.
Theyre quirky and different and hilarious. They make you laugh.
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