Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced Rockhampton-based Woollam Constructions will build the city’s $31.5 million Art Gallery.
The State Government is providing $15 million of the project’s costs. The remainder is shared by the Federal Government and Rockhampton City Council.
Woollam, who built Brisbane’s Breakfast Creek Hotel, built Rockhampton’s Bank of South Wales in 1888 and have had an association with the city ever since.
It’s estimated the Art Gallery construction will support 180 jobs on site.
The Premier praised Woollam Constructions for its policy of using local tradespeople and suppliers.
“Although it will be a landmark in itself, the gallery is more than a building,” the Premier said.
“It will be the showcase for Rockhampton’s hidden treasure – 400 significant works of Australia’s most significant artists.”
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said it is an investment in Rockhampton’s future.
“This is a $31.5 million magnet that will draw a whole new kind of tourist to Rockhampton,” he said.
“Dargie, Blackman, Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Olsen, Whiteley – these are priceless works of art that can only be seen in Rockhampton.
“This is about unlocking employment and investment opportunities for the city, with the development contributing to the revitalisation of the CBD and region.”
Respected gallery owner, Philip Bacon, said Rockhampton’s collection is the envy of museums and collectors worldwide.
“It is undoubtedly the finest collection of Australian art outside a capital city anywhere,” he said.
Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow said the gallery would draw people to Quay Street.
“Four decades ago, Rex Pilbeam charged us, the future citizens of Rockhampton, to maintain and advance our gallery.
“He said it was the least that could be expected of the citizens of tomorrow in return for the contribution made by the citizens of his day.
“When this art gallery is completed, we will have well and truly held up our end of the bargain.”
Woollam Constructions Managing Director Craig Percival said the gallery would make Rockhampton proud.
“It will be the stuff of legend – a project that our people will consider a legacy,” he said.
The gallery will open in 2021.