Cartoons find $5m home as first sod turned in new gallery
ONE of the self-proclaimed best places to volunteer in Coffs Harbour is about to get bigger and better according to its chairman Paul McKeon.
The first sod has been turned and work is underway on the $5 million redevelopment of Coffs Harbour's iconic National Cartoon Gallery@The Bunker.
Paul said the gallery was operated by a combination of paid and volunteer staff.
"We have about 30 volunteers who run the day-to-day gallery - we will be putting on one or two more paid staff," he said. "But volunteers certainly play a major role in the gallery."
Paul said the gallery tried hard to make sure volunteers were given jobs that "keep them interested and challenged."
In fact, the most recent display of 100 images from the Gallery's collection was chosen and displayed by the volunteers.
And it's an exciting time to become involved in the iconic gallery with the $3 million expansion starting and plans for a new high-tech interactive exhibition that would take the gallery into the future while allow- ing visitors a chance to look back at Australian history since Federation in 1900.
Paul said the new display would allow people to look back over the major social, political and sports events since federation.
"It is a huge project, there is nothing like it in Aust- ralia."
At the official start of construction earlier this month, State Member for Coffs Gurmesh Singh said the second level of the gallery was backed by a cultural fund grant and would transform the much-loved local treasure into a major cultural and tourism drawcard.
"Art, screen, music and performance are at the heart and soul of regional NSW and I'm delighted to kick off construction on a project I know will help showcase the gallery and the fantastic city of Coffs Harbour on the world stage," he said.
"The National Cartoon Gallery@The Bunker is not only a fantastic art space, it's Australia's first and only dedicated cartoon art gallery, making it a true cultural icon.
The gallery houses a collection of 23,500 historical cartoons and depicts 120 years of Australian history through the medium of illustration.