History of the Bunker Gallery
The bunker that currently houses the Bunker Cartoon Gallery was built during the dark days of World War II, after Coffs Harbour was selected as the best town on the east coast of Australia to build a military operations base to defend the nation against invasion.
As part of the Air Force operations, the RAAF bunker was built in 1943 on what is now known as City Hill. It became home to many men and women working to protect their country, including a young Gough Whitlam, former Prime Minister of Australia.
By 1984, the bunker had become derelict, filled with rubbish and the occasional home to the homeless. Fortunately, the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour City recognised the potential of the building and its heritage value. They proposed it be converted into a gallery to house the Coffs Cartoon Collection - the largest contemporary collection of original cartoons in Australia.
During the restoration of the bunker only minor alternations were made to ensure the historical integrity of the structure was preserved. The Bunker Cartoon Gallery was opened to the public in 1996, largely due to the hard work of Coffs Harbour City Rotary Club with the support of Coffs Harbour City Council.
Ten years later, in September 2006, the Coffs Harbour City Rotary Club donated the cartoon archive to the community and Coffs Harbour City Council assumed responsibility for the Bunker Cartoon Gallery and its permanent collection.
Photo above: Inspection of the old bunker in 1994, before it was restored and turned into a gallery space Photo below: The interior of the Bunker Gallery in 2006, showcasing an exhibition of works by local artists.
I am looking forward to heading off into Coffs Harbour today, to gain more work experience in the arts industry. I think i will be doing alot of scanning and cataloging of works this week.