Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk, Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow and member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke with workers at the new art gallery.
Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk, Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow and member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke with workers at the new art gallery.

PROGRESS: Exciting new project takes shape in Rocky CBD

STEADILY rising from the ground beside one of Rockhampton’s most iconic historic buildings, the Rockhampton Museum of Art has reached its second level.

The new $31.5 million project on Quay Street, beside the Rockhampton Customs House, was inspected by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Mayor Margaret Strelow and local MPs Barry O’Rourke and Brittany Lauga on Wednesday.

The museum is beginning to take shape with works on the second level of the three-storey building underway.

Once complete, the structure will be six times the size of the existing Rockhampton Art Gallery, a feat Cr Strelow said was 50 per cent complete.

The Premier said the Rockhampton Museum of Art which her government has invested $15 million in, was a critical project for the region.

“The new gallery, constructed by Rockhampton-based Woollam Constructions, has provided much needed employment opportunities for the region with building work continuing throughout the COVID-19 restrictions,” she said.

“The project is supporting more than 100 jobs during the construction period and around 80 per cent of subcontractors are locally based.”

In addition to providing employment opportunities now, the Premier said once complete the Museum would be a significant tourism driver.

“This project is not only keeping locals in jobs during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic but when finished will drive tourism to the region for years to come,” she said.

“It will be a significant tourism driver to the city supporting regional employment, which is an important element of the Palaszczuk Government’s recovery plan: Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs.

“When it’s finished, the museum will house the works of some of Australia’s most significant artists including Arthur Boyd, Russell Drysdale, Sidney Nolan, Jeffrey Smart and Margaret Olley.”

According to Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch, the Palaszczuk Government has been a supporter of the Rockhampton Regional Council’s vision for a new art gallery that connects the community and celebrates the region’s heritage from the beginning.

“The Rockhampton Museum of Art will deliver significant benefits to the community, generating tourism, economic benefits, and opening up new opportunities for local artists,” she said.

“Rockhampton’s collection is one of Queensland’s regional treasures and the new building will house the collection in a beautiful contemporary space.”

Cr Strelow commended the state and federal governments for seeing the value in this project.

“It is already opening the door to new and exciting opportunities that will show the rest of Australia the Rockhampton region is a maturing destination for cultural tourism,” she said.

The Queensland Government’s invested $15 million towards the new Rockhampton Museum of Art. the Federal Government committed $10 million and Rockhampton Regional Council committed $6.5 million.