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Our History

Lismore Regional Gallery is one of the oldest regional gallery’s in New South Wales, first established in 1953, and opening in the Trench Building, in Molesworth Street on 26 October 1954, by the Director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Hal Missingham. The Trench Building was initially built c. 1908 as a combination of Art Nouveau and Continental Secession architecture to house the Lismore Branch of the Government Savings Bank of NSW.

While the Gallery fulfilled its role in presenting a wide range of exhibitions to the region, it was severely hampered by the restrictive facilities. Nonetheless, solo exhibitions by established artists such as Margaret Olley, Patricia Piccinini, Tracey Moffatt, Roger Ballen, Sam Jinks, Laurence Aberhart, Hiromi Tango and Khadim Ali, all took place in the Molesworth Street building.

Over the years, teams of dedicated people continued to work towards relocating the Gallery to a suitable home. 

In 2015, thanks to funding from the Federal Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund, and a donation of $500,000 from the Margaret Olley Arts Trust, the transformation of the old Lismore High School site, on the corner of Keen and Magellan Streets to become a central cultural hub for the city, including a repurposed gallery, became a reality. 

The $5.8 million project included significant redevelopment of the existing C-Block building into a new art gallery, and major landscaping works to create the Lismore Quadrangle, linking the Gallery with the Northern Rivers Conservatorium and Lismore Library. Dominic Finlay Jones Architects, in partnership with Phillips Smith Conwell, were the project architects, and were the same successful team that oversaw the redevelopment of Lismore City Hall.

Our new facility has dramatically transformed our capacity to deliver the kinds of exhibitions impossible to show in our old building. Most notable was the exhibition EuroVisions: Contemporary Art from the Goldberg Collection, which included work by some of the world’s most influential contemporary artists including Anish Kapoor, Urs Fischer, Katharina Grosse, Sarah Lucas, Ugo Rondinone and Wolfgang Tillmans.

Added to this is the inclusion of The Hannah Cabinet, a work of incredible complexity which enthrals all who see it.

Our new spaces also allow for the hosting of a wide range of events including talks, workshops, films and major projects and community events held in the Lismore Quadrangle.

A detailed history of our first 50 years can be read in  Ebb and Flow: A History of Lismore Regional Gallery 1954 - 2004 by Rebecca Rushbrook.