New journey begins for Rex Pilbeam’s legacy art collection

Published on 30 June 2017


The vision to resurrect Rex Pilbeam’s legacy art collection from storage and into a new gallery adjacent to Customs House is gaining momentum.

Earlier this month the State Government allocated $2 million to see the business case developed and design work progressed. 

Council has appointed award winning architects Clare Design to design the new structure that will house the collection and has also purchased property facing East Street that will ultimately be demolished to create a new laneway from East Street to the new gallery.

“I am so proud to begin this incredible journey that will see a new gallery house both touring exhibitions and Rex Pilbeam’s nationally significant collection that is currently stored in the storeroom of our existing gallery,” Mayor Strelow said.

“This is a collection that is crucial for the city’s sense of pride and identity and I am confident Clare Design will create a world-class space for this legacy.”

Clare Design’s best known work in Queensland is the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMa) on Brisbane’s Southbank. They will be assisted by Conrad Gargett who will add expertise in the adaptive reuse of our iconic Customs House.

“The new linkage between East Street and Quay Lane will be how you see movement from our main CBD and the Kern Arcade car park,” Mayor Strelow said.

“This project will help unlock the cultural potential of Rockhampton, and like we’ve seen with MONA in Tasmania, the gallery can become a real driver for tourism and economic growth in our region.”

Mayor Strelow once again thanked Bill Byrne and the Premier as the Minister for Arts for backing the vision in the 2017/18 state budget.

“The $2million allocated in the state budget is an absolute coup for our City; it will assist us in building a solid business case and develop the designs for the new gallery.” she said.

“Four decades ago, Rex Pilbeam said, ‘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.’

“Mayor Pilbeam’s vision continues in this bold plan to build a dedicated Gallery.

“In 1977 that renowned Australian artist Clifton Pugh said Rockhampton was ‘going to have the best contemporary collection outside the major cities’,  we are building that collection the home it deserves,” Mayor Strelow said.