PROJECT PROGRESSING: It's full steam ahead for the construction of the $31.5 million Rockhampton Art Gallery.
PROJECT PROGRESSING: It's full steam ahead for the construction of the $31.5 million Rockhampton Art Gallery.

Rocky’s new art gallery taking shape

ROCKHAMPTON’S long awaited $31.5 million art gallery is slowly growing in stature at its Quay St construction site.

Following the demolition of the previous building at the site between September and December, structural work has begun on the new gallery.

Rockhampton Regional Council has confirmed piled foundations were complete, with the equipment demobilised from site at the end of January 2020.

RRC said there was about 2440 metres of piles support for the new structure in piles that vary in length up to 18 metres deep.

PROGRESS: A crane is assembled to assist with the construction of the Rockhampton Art Gallery.
PROGRESS: A crane is assembled to assist with the construction of the Rockhampton Art Gallery.

On Saturday, January 18, a 25 metre tower crane was erected onsite in preparation as the project transitions from demolition to construction.

When looking through the front fence people may see the tower crane moving materials for civil ground works. Following ground works, erection of the building will commence.

To date, a total of about 1400m3 of concrete and 150 tonnes of reinforcing have been used.

By July 2020, the building will have its three level concrete frame nearly completed, ready for roof framing and sheeting to begin.

Construction was expected to be complete by the middle of 2021.

In the second half of 2021, the doors will open to public.

Construction under way at the new Rockhampton Art Gallery site
Construction under way at the new Rockhampton Art Gallery site

Currently there are up to 40 workers on site including form workers, crane crew, electricians, and plumbers. The workforce was expected to peak during the internal fit out stage.

The new Rockhampton Art Gallery is jointly funded by the

Australian Government ($10 million), Queensland Government ($13 million) and Rockhampton Regional Council ($8.5 million).

RRC said the Rockhampton Art Gallery would form an integral pillar in the vibrant cultural hub and community precinct activating Rockhampton’s CBD, enriching tourism, and boosting economic activity.

The architecturally designed gallery would make the region’s nationally significant collection more accessible to the community and provide opportunities to show large scale national and international touring exhibitions, and offer spaces for contemporary learning opportunities and community engagement.

Construction under way at the new Rockhampton Art Gallery site
Construction under way at the new Rockhampton Art Gallery site

The large gallery space will support the exhibition of Rex Pilbeam’s legacy collection which is in storage due to limited space at the existing Rockhampton Art Gallery.

This is one of regional Australia’s most significant collections of Australian modernist painting, and captures the period of the second half of the twentieth century, with works by Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, Charles Blackman, John Brack and Jeffrey Smart. With views of the Fitzroy River the new Rockhampton Art Gallery will feature a large scale exhibition space on the lower floor to host originally curated exhibitions drawn from throughout Australia and internationally.

PROJECT PROGRESSING: It's full steam ahead for the construction of the $31.5 million Rockhampton Art Gallery.
PROJECT PROGRESSING: It's full steam ahead for the construction of the $31.5 million Rockhampton Art Gallery.

The upper level gallery will highlight the permanent collection, artists held in the collection and artists with connections to the region. Activation and engagement will occur throughout the building, from the entry with the Gallery Shop, to a side wrapping dining experience that brings the outside in and the inside out, along with a wing of multipurpose contemporary education spaces accessible 24hrs a day.

The new Rockhampton Art Gallery is being constructed on 212 and 214 Quay Street and the back section of 220 Quay Street for a delivery dock. The construction period will take approximately 2 years with a scheduled completion date of mid-2021.

PROJECT PROGRESSING: It's full steam ahead for the construction of the $31.5 million Rockhampton Art Gallery.
PROJECT PROGRESSING: It's full steam ahead for the construction of the $31.5 million Rockhampton Art Gallery.

Rockhampton Art Gallery’s frequently asked questions

Q1: How is the new Rockhampton Art Gallery being funded?

A1: The regions new Rockhampton Art Gallery is proudly funded by three levels of government.

Funding breakdown:

– Australian Federal Government (Building Better Regions Fund): $10 million

– Queensland Government (Building Our Regions Fund): $5 million

– Queensland Government through Arts Queensland: $8 million

– Rockhampton Regional Council: $8.5 million

Q2: Why is Rockhampton Regional Council building a new gallery?

A2: Rockhampton Regional Council recognises that a vibrant, strong and prosperous Central Business District is critical for the long-term economic success of the city of Rockhampton and the broader region. With this in mind, Council commissioned the preparation of the Rockhampton CBD Redevelopment Framework, a comprehensive document designed to lead the revitalisation of the CBD. The framework contains strategic, long term directions for economic, community and cultural development and increased residential living options as well as a prioritised list of projects which will deliver outcomes for the local community and stakeholders. One of the six catalyst projects was the Quay Street Cultural Precinct which included the Art Gallery.

By maximising Council owned assets including the Customs House, Quay Lane, 212, 214 and other Council owned property on Quay Street and leveraging the momentum of the Riverside redevelopment, it is possible to create an integrated hub of activation focused on culture, arts and creativity that will drive visitation and catalyse further change.

The project’s main objective is to create a vibrant cultural hub and an active community space in the CBD around the historic Customs House. The redevelopment will optimise use of the buildings and grounds of the properties, and provide high quality built form and streetscape appearance. The relocation of the Art Gallery to this precinct is a key element in the success of the project and contributor to the creation of a Quay Street Cultural Precinct.

PROJECT PROGRESSING: It's full steam ahead for the construction of the $31.5 million Rockhampton Art Gallery.
PROJECT PROGRESSING: It's full steam ahead for the construction of the $31.5 million Rockhampton Art Gallery.

Q3: Who is Rex Pilbeam? What is his connection to Rockhampton’s Art Gallery?

A3: Rex Pilbeam served as Rockhampton City Council’s Mayor for 30 years (elected in 1952).

Timeline:

– 1965 – Rex Pilbeam announced Council’s intention to establish an Art Gallery in Rockhampton.

– 1967 – Council officially opened the Art Gallery in the auditorium at Rockhampton City Hall.

– 1976 – Rex Pilbeam established an Art Acquisition Fund with several other community leaders including Rockhampton Art Gallery Trust Chair Bishop John Bayton, Architect Neil McKendry and the Director of Rockhampton Art Gallery Don Taylor. Rex Pilbeam took advantage of the Federal Government scheme where galleries were provided with a 70% subsidy for each piece of art, to assist contemporary Australian artists and the growth of arts facilities. Under the Federal Governments subsidy scheme the Art Acquisition Committee (lead by Rex Pilbeam) purchased $500,000 worth of artworks, for just $60,000.

They selected and purchased important mid-twentieth century paintings, sculpture and works on paper, adding works from just about every significant figure in modernist Australian art to the Gallery’s collection. These four men ‘had the vision to create what is arguably the finest collection in regional Queensland and one of the best in regional Australia’.

Today the Rockhampton Art Gallery collection is regarded as one of the finest in regional Australia. As well as being of artistic significance, Rex Pilbeam’s legacy collection has historical significance, with early depictions of Rockhampton. It is the only regional gallery in Queensland to hold a representative collection of the works of the ‘greats’ of Australian modernist painting of the second half of the twentieth century.

Q4: Where is the new Rockhampton Art Gallery being built and what will the facility offer the community?

A4: The new Rockhampton Art Gallery is being constructed on 212 and 214 Quay Street and the back section of 220 Quay Street for a delivery dock. The new Rockhampton Art Gallery structure is being constructed next to the historic Customs House.

‘I solemnly charge the future citizens of Rockhampton to maintain and advance this Gallery in years to come. This is the least that we can expect of the citizens of tomorrow in return for the splendid contribution made by the citizens of today’ – late Mayor Rex Pilbeam.

workers erect crane on new art gallery site.
workers erect crane on new art gallery site.

Q5: What benefits will the new Rockhampton Art Gallery offer the region?

A5: The new Rockhampton Art Gallery will be an integral pillar in the vibrant cultural hub and community precinct that will activate Rockhampton’s CBD, enrich tourism, and boost economic activity in the region.

Benefits:

– The new gallery will optimise the collections, programming and visitor experience – tripling the proportion of the collection able to be exhibited.

– It will be the largest public exhibition square metre space outside of Brisbane – gross floor area is 4711 m2 (existing gallery 650 m2). It will be one of only a handful of galleries in Australia that comply with National & International touring standards and will provide the community access to significant exhibitions of quality equal to major metropolitan centres.

– It will position Rockhampton as a regional leader in the arts.

– The cutting edge new gallery space is expected to increase visitation levels from 41,000 to 90,000, bringing increased tourism expenditure of $244.7m over the next 15 years.

– Will be a tourist drawcard visitors from interstate and beyond.

– Enhanced economic opportunities for artists and cultural service suppliers.

– It will support cross-promotional opportunities and business awareness between the co-located businesses and functions of the cultural precinct.

– Increase cultural job opportunities in the region. It is projected that 69 FTE jobs will be created during the construction phase and 165 FTE jobs per year post construction (over 15 years).

– Education and training opportunities for students, artists and the broader workforce.

– Will play a social inclusion role in increasing social contact, arts inclusion and skill acquisition in the region.

– Active contribution to revitalisation of the CBD.

workers erect crane on new art gallery site.
workers erect crane on new art gallery site.

Q6: Will it be wheelchair accessible?

A6: The new Rockhampton Art Gallery is being constructed to comply with the Building Code of Australia and as such, the building design is ‘all abilities access compliant.’

The new Rockhampton Art Gallery will have two entrances:

– Front entrance via Quay Street: this access is deemed ‘A Grade Level’ as the surface is completely flat surface and suitable for wheelchairs – meaning no kerb to negotiate around.

– Back entrance via Quay Lane: this access has two options which include a ramp for wheelchairs and stairs. Please see the design to view the position of the stairs and ramp (to the right) which meets the needs of all abilities.

Q7: When will construction finish?

A7: Construction works commenced in July in 2019 and are proposed to be completed by mid-2021, subject to favourable weather conditions.

The first phase of the works is the demolition of the existing buildings on 212 and 214 Quay Street. Demolition commenced in September 2019 and is proposed to be completed in November 2019.

Q8: What construction company was awarded the tendered project?

A8: Rockhampton-based Woollam Constructions will build the regions new Rockhampton Art Gallery. Woollam’s were successful in their tender submission and were awarded the contract in July 2019. Woollam Constructions project portfolio includes Rockhampton Riverside Redevelopment and the 1888 Rockhampton’s Bank of South Wales.

Mayor Margaret Strelow, Warwick Anderson and Michelle Landry announcing the $10 million Federal Funding towards the new Rockhampton Art Gallery.
Mayor Margaret Strelow, Warwick Anderson and Michelle Landry announcing the $10 million Federal Funding towards the new Rockhampton Art Gallery.

Q9: I’m interested in construction job opportunities. Who do I contact?

A9: It’s estimated the new Rockhampton Art Gallery construction will support an estimated 170 jobs over the lifespan of the construction project. Job seekers need to directly contact Woollam Constructions on 1300 966 5526 (1300 WOOLLAM).

Q10: What days and times will the construction take place?

A10: All Construction works and other associated activities will be undertaken on

– Monday to Friday (6:30am to 6:30pm)

– Saturday (6:30am to 6:00pm)

– No work will be undertaken on Sundays or public holidays. Any works to be undertaken outside the hours specified for each location will be on an “as required” basis.

Q11: What route will the trucks take to enter the laneway?

A11: Trucks will travel on Bolsover Street (Department of Transport approved route for trucks), down Williams Street and will reverse up Quay Lane – which is a one way lane. Traffic Controllers and signage will be in place to direct traffic and minimise delays.

Q12: Will there be traffic delays due to the construction works?

A12: There may be some minor traffic delays on Williams Street near Quay Lane as trucks drive down William Street and then reverse back into Quay Lane. It is anticipated that Quay Lane will experience a moderate increase in traffic during the demolition phase of the project as excavated materials will need to be removed. Traffic controllers will be in place to direct trucks and minimise traffic delays.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palazczuk, Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke, Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow and Keppel MP Lauga at the announcement for Woollams as contractors for new $31.5 million Rockhampton Art Gallery.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palazczuk, Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke, Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow and Keppel MP Lauga at the announcement for Woollams as contractors for new $31.5 million Rockhampton Art Gallery.

Q13: Will there be any temporary road/lane closures and or detours due to the construction works? If so, where will they be?

A13: Quay Lane between Denham Street and Williams Street will be the only street that will experience temporary lane closures. Residents and businesses that adjoin this section of Quay Lane will be notified.

Q14: What about dust during demolition and construction?

A14: Woollam Constructions will be using a combination of mitigation techniques to minimise dust – where possible.

Mitigation techniques during demolition phase:

– Wet dust at ground level with high pressure hoses.

– Wet airborne dust and push it down with a top-down water suppression sprayer that is boom mounted on a long arm excavator.

– The perimeter of the demolition site is sectioned off with fencing encased in solid mesh.

Mitigation technique during construction phase:

– The perimeter of the construction site will be sectioned off with fencing encased in solid mesh.

Work on the new art gallery walk from Quay St to East St South Rockhampton
Work on the new art gallery walk from Quay St to East St South Rockhampton

Q15: What about noise during construction?

A15: The amount of noise generated by construction activities will vary depending on the type of work being carried out. For instance, noise levels from activities such as demolition and removal of excavated material will be different to noise from structural construction.

Q16: What about structural vibration during construction?

A16: Short-term vibration generated by construction activities will vary over the project. For example, intermittent vibrations may be produced from activities such as demolition, piling, ground treatments (i.e. compaction) and the use of construction equipment.

Q17: What will happen to the previous Art Gallery once it is closed?

A17: This will leave the former Art Gallery building available for potential reuse and redevelopment. A functional layout and interrelationships of uses within the Pilbeam Theatre is being considered. Council has called for tenders for concept designs for the Pilbeam Theatre Complex Redevelopment. With a purpose to provide the optimal, best use and yield of the site with integration to the theatre.

This commission will develop designs that will improve the functions and layouts within the building to enhance the future theatre and entertainment experience of end users.

Rockhampton Art Gallery view from Quay Ln.
Rockhampton Art Gallery view from Quay Ln.

Q18: When will the new laneway from East Street through to Quay Street be completed?

A18: Council purchased 115 and 119 East Street with the intent of providing a visual link through and within the building from the CBD to the Cultural Precinct on Quay Street.

Council have strategically demolished the back of the 115 and 119 East Street buildings to allow for the future redevelopment of the site, but to primarily to provide a logistics and staging point for the construction of the new Rockhampton Art Gallery. This area is now a construction zone with modular offices and sheds which will remain on site until the new Rockhampton Art Gallery construction has been completed.

The safety hoarding erected at the front of 115 and 119 East Street is to protect the public during the interim until the precinct design plans are finalised and restoration work commences on the front of facade.

DEMOLITION COMMENCES: Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Rockhampton region mayor Margaret Strelow and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack MP visited the Quay St building which will be demolished to make way for the new art gallery.
DEMOLITION COMMENCES: Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Rockhampton region mayor Margaret Strelow and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack MP visited the Quay St building which will be demolished to make way for the new art gallery.


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