City of Newcastle Media Release
30 November 2023
Newcastle Art Gallery expansion reaches new heights
The expansion of the Newcastle Art Gallery will reach new heights today with the installation of a
33 metre high hammerhead tower crane on site.
The crane will facilitate the next stage of the long-awaited Art Gallery Expansion project, which
will more than double the size of the Gallery, modernising the facility into a fitting home for City of
Newcastle’s nationally significant $126 million collection.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes was pleased to see the main construction works
progressing, bringing the community another step closer to a world class space for education and
enjoyment of the arts.
“Due to its smaller size, the Gallery has only ever had the capacity to display around one percent
of its amazing collection at any one time,” Cr Nelmes said.
“The expanded Gallery will mean we can welcome many more people into the space and give
our collection the home it deserves.
“The newly installed crane is a welcome albeit temporary addition to our city’s skyline, and I am
really pleased to see the construction activity forging ahead.”
Once completed, the expansion project will deliver multiple exhibition spaces with the ground
floor galleries dedicated to permanent collection display, a café, retail shop, multi-purpose
program space, and a secure international standard loading dock.
The crane’s arrival followed the presentation on Tuesday of a $1.3 million cheque for the
expansion to City of Newcastle from the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation. The milestone
payment is drawn from the Art Gallery Redevelopment Fund, which consists of funds raised by
the community over many years and held in trust by the Foundation on behalf of the City of
Newcastle since 2013.
Foundation Chair Suzie Galwey said the Foundation had so far secured philanthropic donations
and pledges totalling $12 million for the expansion project, with a further $1 million being sought
to achieve its $13 million fundraising goal.
“This cheque represents two decades of community passion, advocacy and fundraising for a
world class gallery for Newcastle and the Hunter,” Ms Galwey said.
“It’s wonderful to celebrate this milestone payment alongside such exciting progress in the
construction works and we look forward to seeing the expanded building continue to take shape.”
To celebrate the arrival of the crane, City of Newcastle is collaborating with Head Contractor
Hansen Yuncken and a range of early learning providers in a family-friendly ‘Name the Crane’
Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton OAM said the fun competition would help spark
interest in both the arts and construction amongst Newcastle’s youngest students.
“The Gallery has long partnered with schools and pre-schools in the area to foster connections
and creativity, so this seemed like a lovely way to continue this legacy while our programming
has moved off-site,” Ms Morton said.
Results of the competition, including the reveal of the crane’s name, will be announced early next
The Newcastle Art Gallery expansion project is supported by $5 million from the Australian
Government under the Regional Recovery Partnerships and $5 million from the New South
Wales Government under the Regional Recovery Package, as well as $12 million from the
Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation made possible through the Valerie and John Ryan bequest,
Margaret Olley Trust, and community fundraising over many years. A further $1 million is
currently being sought through the Foundation’s public fundraising campaign.
The Regional Recovery Partnerships initiative seeks to broker connections between all levels of
government to increase information flow, share technical expertise and strengthen regional
Picture caption: Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation Chair Suzie Galwey, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Councillor Carol Duncan with representatives from City of Newcastle and Hansen Yuncken at the Newcastle Art Gallery site for the arrival and installation of the tower crane.