Winton fire didn't hurt Rocky's priceless touring exhibition
ROCKHAMPTON'S multi-million dollar touring exhibition Cream: Four decades of Australian art was never at risk from a fire that has severely damaged the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton on Wednesday night where the exhibition was due to have opened in a few weeks' time.
The exhibition has been on a national tour since April last year and is currently on display at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum. It was due to go on display at the Outback Gallery at the Waltzing Matilda Centre from July 13. Fire severely damaged the Centre in the early hours of Thursday 18 June.
As there was no capacity for the exhibition to be brought back to Rockhampton, it will now be held in secure climate-controlled storage off-site before moving to the next venue, Artspace Mackay from early September.
Rockhampton Region Mayor Cr Margaret Strelow said that the fire was a major blow not only to the Winton community but also to the whole of Australia.
"The fire at the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton is devastating, and our thoughts are with the Winton community. They have lost not only precious irreplaceable items but also a major tourism drawcard," she said.
"We are relieved that Rockhampton's exhibition wasn't in the centre at the time and that our treasured artworks are safe," she said
"Any art is irreplaceable. Our collection is insured but no amount of money can replace lost artworks and historic items."
Cream: Four decades of Australian art chronicles the development of modernism in Australia from 1940 to 1980, and includes paintings, drawings and prints by artists such as John Perceval, Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman, Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, John Brack, Clifton Pugh, Sam Fulbrook, Margaret Olley, and Fred Williams.
Before arriving in Gladstone, Cream: Four decades of Australian art had been seen by more than 56,000 people during its tour.
Rockhampton Art Gallery is currently putting the finishing touches to a new exhibition Rockhampton: The forgotten port city, which will be on display at the Gallery from July 4.