Exhibitions > Rocking it at 50
Rocking it at 50



Rockhampton Art Gallery Collection

8 February - 31 December 2017

The story of Rockhampton Art Gallery’s enviable art collection is a remarkable tale of imagination, philanthropy, hard work and cultural pride. The earliest art donation to the City of Rockhampton was in 1931, a bequest from the estate of a local resident Edward Cureton Tomkins, dated late 1780s. This painting was once thought to be by Sir Joshua Reynolds, but was later re-attributed to the English portrait painter, Lemuel Francis Abbott. Several years after this initial donation Rockhampton Art Gallery was founded in 1967, with a dedicated exhibition space at Rockhampton Town Hall. In 1979 Rockhampton Art Gallery was provided with a purpose built home at 62 Victoria Parade. The impetus for this new building was motivated by the dramatic and sizeable acquisitions that occurred from 1976.

This stunning collection includes paintings by modern Australian artists Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman, Judy Cassab, Kenneth Macqueen, Lloyd Rees, Russell Drysdale, Donald Friend, John Coburn, and many more. James Gleeson, artist and then curator at the Australian National Gallery, visited in 1977 and was very impressed by what the town had achieved. In his view, ‘What had been happening in Rockhampton is the talk of Australia in the art world … There has been nothing like it in the country before’.i 

(i) Quoted in ‘City Art Collection ‘best in north’, Morning Bulletin, c.1977.


William BustardCustoms House, Rockhampton 1948 | oil on composition board | acquired 1991

Programs and Events


Collection Conversations

Every Wednesday,  10.30am - 11.00am


Get to know the Rockhampton Art Gallery’s remarkable collection. A true gem of Australia’s cultural fabric, the Gallery’s collection offers a top-shelf selection from the greats of Modernist Australia. Come along to the Gallery every Wednesday and be guided by one of the Gallery’s knowledgeable Collection Guides as they take you through the collection intimately. With a changing program of works on show, you can pencil in our Collection Conversations as a regular Wednesday morning activity. 



 Donate_for_a_cultural_future   For almost half a century, Rockhampton Art Gallery has collected and exhibited some of Australia’s greatest works of art. The generosity of donors has ensured that Rockhampton Art Gallery’s collection has grown into a national treasure and a cultural and educational resource for the benefit of present and future generations.
Rockhampton Art Gallery
62 Victoria Parade
PO Box 1860 Rockhampton Qld 4700
Phone: (07) 4936 8248