WHETHER Rockhampton's longest serving mayor was simply an art-lover or an investor ahead of his time, Rex Pilbeam put the town on the art-world map.
The Rockhampton Art Gallery was founded in 1967, part of the way through his 31-year term.
But it wasn't until 1976 that the collection gained momentum with the establishment of an Art Acquisition Fund by Mr Pilbeam, Bishop John Bayton, Neil McKendry and gallery director Don Taylor.
And many were bought for a fraction of what they are worth today. One example is the Fred Williams painting Burning Tree at Upwey, which was bought for $2000 and is now worth $1 million.
The works collected between 1976 and 1977 were often acquired on buying trips which included visits to artists and commercial art galleries.
The Rockhampton gallery's whole collection is valued at more than $11 million.
Some of the first paintings acquired from 1976-77
Fred Williams' Burning Tree at Upwey (1965)
Arthur Boyd's Woman in a Jinker (1976)
Margaret Olley's Pots and Objects
Russell Drysdale's Outback Postmistress and Daughter (1976)
Jeffrey Smart's Fumicino Car Park (1975)