Museum & Gallery Services Queensland

Gympie Regional Gallery

Memory Key Box

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This is one of 12 'windows' that contain a collection of keys that have passed through the building over the past century. It is on permanent display in the Gallery foyer. The patterns featured in the background are altered photographs of the air vents on the exterior of the building and also the decorative fretwork under the staircase. The 12 windows of memories were an integral feature of an exhibition celebrating 100 years of the School of Arts
building in 2005 and were created by Nyria King. The other eleven windows contain a diverse collection of insights into the history of the building including present day items.

Above: Memory Box (Keys)

Charles Nuttal Federation Print

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On permanent display in the Edward Bytheway Meeting Room is a beautiful Federation Print by Charles Nuttall, that was presented to the Gallery when it was The School of Arts, in June 1910, by the citizens named around the print. No records have yet been found as to why, how much, and exactly how it was presented. Many of the names are familiar names today as their legacy has been left on many street and building names. Edward Bytheway, whom this room is named after, is also included on the list.

The importance of the opening of Federal Parliament required a significant visual record of the event, and a group of businessmen approached Charles Nuttall to produce a large painting depicting as many of the dignitaries as possible.

Following his brief to represent as many 'heads' as possible, among the vast crowd he included 344 recognisable portraits of local and international dignitaries. To achieve this, he organised sittings of the various subjects so that he could make sketches. Included in this group is Andrew Fisher, Australia's first Labour Prime Minister and ex-Gympie lad.

Above: Federation Print

Hugo Du Rietz

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The School of Arts Building, of which Gympie Regional Gallery is now housed, was designed and constructed by architect Hugo Du Rietz. Gallery 2 is named after him.

Hugo Du Rietz was born a nobleman in Langas, Sweden. He trained as an architect and was by nature an innovator.

In 1852 he was lured to Ballarat, Victoria, by the gold rush. Then he moved to Brisbane, where he worked as a builder and was a member of the Brisbane Municipal Council. After becoming insolvent in 1867, he joined the gold rush to Gympie, where he remained until his death.

In his early years in Gympie, Du Rietz invested in goldmining, but had never become rich. He tried other businesses, including a soup factory, but had his greatest success as a farmer and an architect. On his farm at Eel Creek he tried dairying and in 1882 was the first person in Australia to install a cream separator. In later years he raised poultry with similar enthusiasm and success.

By 1871 Du Rietz was practising architecture, designing houses, shops, hotels, banks, schools and churches. Many of his buildings still stand, giving Gympie some of its unique character.

Du Rietz worked hard to promote the advancement of Gympie and surrounding districts, serving on committees for the Hospital, the Gympie Primary School, the Agricultural, Pastoral and Mining Society and the School of Arts. He designed and supervised the construction of the School of Arts and Mines. In 1977 it was taken over by the Gympie City Council to become the Gympie Library, in 1998 became the Cooloola Shire Public Gallery, and in 2008 changed its name to Gympie Regional Gallery.

The library was relocated in 1995 and on the 28th February 1998, the building started its next phase as the Cooloola Shire Public Gallery. In 2002 the building underwent its first major alterations when the Cooloola Shire Council received Millennium arts funding from Arts Queensland (State Government) to increase the area of the building. The Andrew Fisher Annex was added on the rear of the building, which contained a workshop area, a lift, new amenities and storerooms.

Above: Hugo Du Rietz

'Did You Know' - Intriguing Facts about the Gallery

The Gympie Regional Gallery is housed in the heritage listed School of Arts Building designed by architect Hugo Du Rietz.and built in 1905.

For the building’s 100th birthday the gallery collected over 90 community recollections of the building’s place in their lives. These stories of the building are told through the twelve “Windows of Memories” display boxes produced by artist Nyria King and displayed in the gallery on rotation.

The two public art pieces beside the building connect to the history of Gympie and the place of the gallery: ‘Pinnacles’ by Stephen Newton and ‘Crate’ by Richard Newport.

The main room upstairs in the building has hosted many musical performances prior to becoming a 'category A' gallery space. This venue was a valuable beginning for many who wished to further their musical career.

The job of restoring the staircase took 4 days to complete and 40
litres of methylated spirits was used to remove the shellac!

The new section of the Gallery is named after Andrew Fisher, the first
elected Labor Prime Minister of Australia, who also lived in Gympie

In the early 1990's the building that houses the Gallery was a library with classes in dressmaking and carpentry.

Contact Details

Gympie Regional Gallery
Address: 39 Nash St, Gympie Qld 4570
Phone: 07 5481 0733
Fax: 07 5483 8904