Gallery, GeoCentre take centre stage

Published on 02 December 2019


Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery is again in the spotlight, taking out a top honour at Museums and Galleries NSW's Imagine Awards.

The Awards were held at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, with the Gallery winning an engagement award for its FRESHbark program.

The Gallery also shared a high commendation with the Albert Kersten Mining and Minerals Museum (GeoCentre) for the program to digitise both venues' collections.

Council's Gallery and Museum Manager, Tara Callaghan, said she was elated with the outcome.

"It's great to be acknowledged on a State level, and see the staff rewarded for all the great work they do."

Mayor Darriea Turley AM said all staff should be commended on the results.

"Everyone knows we have amazing art and mineral collections in Broken Hill, but it's the staff behind the scenes who bring them to life," said Mayor Turley.

"I know staff at the Gallery and GeoCentre are extremely passionate about their work, and the awards night was a fitting tribute to their efforts.

"On behalf of Broken Hill, I would like to congratulate everyone who contributed to this award and commendation and thank all bodies who help fund these amazing programs."

FRESHbark is funded by Council and Australia Council for the Arts, while the digitisation project is funded by Council and CreateNSW via the Regional Cultural Fund.

Full details on the awards and the winning programs can be found below:


ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS (Small/Medium Organisations)


Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery


This mentorship program for young Aboriginal artists in the far west utilised intergenerational connections to engage and enable their career opportunities. The program provided participants with access to creative technologies, resources, materials, museum and gallery training, and funded research trips.

Developed in partnership with Maari Ma Aboriginal Health Corporation, FRESHbark provided a new perspective on collaboration between emerging art practitioners and programming at Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery. The overall aim of the project was to affect both short and long-term social outcomes and capacity building.

The program covered funding for travel; free-of-charge studio space; museum and gallery training; state and national collections research; mentorship

and workshops with contemporary artists; and confidence-building and self-agency for artists. The program was also meaningful as it improved communication and understanding between the Gallery and young Aboriginal artists as well as the local Aboriginal community more broadly. The program culminated in an exhibition of the same name which received 5,000 visitors and developed a significant online following.



Highly Commended:

Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery and Albert Kersten Mining and Minerals Museum (GeoCentre)

Australia’s First Heritage Listed City Goes Digital

This two-year project, scheduled for completion in October 2020, will see the digitisation of the full collections of the Gallery and GeoCentre with the aim to eventually have them publicly accessible online. The Gallery is the oldest of its kind in NSW and has an impressive permanent collection of around 2,000 works. The Geocentre has a rare collection of around 1,000 minerals and mining-related objects. Together they tell the story of mining in Australia and the history and importance of Broken Hill.

In addition to acquiring high quality photographs of the collection, the project also serves to address elements of collection management that have been overlooked for the last 115 years including copyright, provenance, legal title and acquisition information.

Two dedicated staff were assigned to this project and a conservation internship program was established with the University of Melbourne. The digitisation and public accessibility of the collections will be utilised for promotion, tourism, general interest, education, curation and research. The project has helped to ensure that the historical treasures of Broken Hill can be enjoyed by future generations.

Supplied image: Ray Christison (M&G NSW Chair); Tara Callaghan (Gallery & Museum Manager, Broken Gill Regional Art Gallery); Blake Griffiths (Gallery & Museum Program Officer); The Hon. Don Harwin MLC (Minister for the Arts)