$33 million art gallery project will bring more jobs and more tourists as the Shoalhaven recovers from the bushfires

Today's sod turning at the Bundanon Trust's new $33 million art gallery in the Shoalhaven kicks off a project which will be a major jobs boost as the area recovers from the bushfires – and once completed, in late 2021, will be a major new tourism facility expected to attract many visitors to the region.

Bundanon Trust holds the extraordinary $43 million art collection gifted to the nation by one of Australia's best known artists, Arthur Boyd – containing many of his works as well as works by major Australian and international artists such as John Olsen, Sidney Nolan and Pablo Picasso.

The Trust owns several properties of stunning natural beauty along the Shoalhaven River, where Boyd lived and worked for many years.

The project is supported with $22 million of funding by the Morrison Government and $8.6 million from the NSW Government for the construction of a new gallery as well as storage space. The remaining funds will come from private donations.

The funding will also provide new accommodation for artists groups, residential education and related event purposes.

Speaking at the Bundanon Masterplan sod turning event, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the Bundanon Masterplan will allow the expansion of Bundanon's artistic programming, which will be critically important as the region progresses with its recovery following the devastating bushfires experienced this summer.

“The new facilities will allow Bundanon to open to the public five days a week and grow its program of concerts, events and regional arts engagement activities. It’s estimated the works will boost the local economy by $10 million annually, delivering more than 170 jobs to the Shoalhaven region during construction, and an additional 69 jobs on an ongoing basis,” Minister Fletcher said.

At the event, Minister Fletcher announced an additional $300,000 to bolster the resilience of the Bundanon site with the installation of an ember suppression system to protect Bundanon's most significant heritage-listed buildings.

“This bushfire season has highlighted the importance of guarding this precious property and its collection against the threat of bushfire,” Minister Fletcher said.

“The Australian Government supported the removal to safekeeping of many high-value items from Bundanon's collection as the Currowan bushfire burnt areas on two of Bundanon’s four properties.

“The new system will make sure the Bundanon property, including the Arthur Boyd Homestead, studio, artists in residence and musician cottages, and the art collection store, is sufficiently equipped for future bushfire threats.”

NSW Minister for the Arts, the Hon Don Harwin MLC, said: “In 2018 when the NSW Government announced this project would go ahead, we wanted to ensure this extraordinary collection was not only more accessible, but also more secure from the threat of bushfires through innovative storage solutions.”

“I am delighted to be back here to see the first works begin on what will be a truly magnificent cultural asset for the area that will allow this extremely valuable and revered collection of art to live on for generations to come,” Minister Harwin said.

Ember suppression equipment will be installed as soon as possible to protect the property from bushfire threat this summer.

In 2019-20 the Australian Government committed $22 million over three years to implement the Bundanon Masterplan. The Masterplan is expected to be completed by late 2021 and open to the public by early 2022.

Bundanon Trust was given to the Australian people in 1993 by Australian artist Arthur Boyd and his wife Yvonne. It is managed on behalf of the Australian people by the Australian Government.

View the Masterplan: www.bundanon.com.au

Media contact:

Minister Fletcher: Brad Hatch | 0448 162 679 | Brad.Hatch@communications.gov.au
and Rebecca Papillo | 0439 892 771 | Rebecca.Papillo@communications.gov.au
Minister Harwin: Chris Lawrence | 0439 434 863 | Chris.Lawrence@minister.nsw.gov.au