Rockhampton Museum of Art reaches construction milestone

Published on 07 August 2020

Woollam managing director Craig Percival, Barry O'Rourke MP, Michelle Landry MP, Cr Drew Wickerson.jpg

The massive 4700 square metre construction of Rockhampton Museum of Art is attracting the skills of local trades from demolition to painting as the project builder marks a year on the job.

A year ago, in late July, it was announced that Rockhampton-based Woollam would lead the 84-week build. Woollam managing director Craig Percival said works were ‘’on program’’, resulting in a hiring spree of tradies and contract partners.

‘’The commitment from all levels of government to this project means that Woollam estimates 800 tradespeople are expected to be inducted to the site over the course of the project, having inducted more than 300 people on-site already,’’ Mr Percival said.

‘’The sandstone building façade is from the quarry in Stanwell – this is exceptionally unique work using traditional stonemasons.

‘’At the halfway point we are well on schedule and over the next few months we will see the design really starting to take shape.

‘’We have not missed a beat during the Coronavirus global pandemic and this is thanks to our team at Woollam and the incredible work of local contract partners including Capricorn Sandstone Quarries, JRT Civil, Stanke Group Electrics, Pierce Engineering, Larges Furniture, McAlister & Burford, AE Smith, Stresscrete, Jett Building Solutions, Trend Floors and many more.

‘’Thanks must also go to the local community for their patience –  together with Council we have been working closely with neighbours to ensure they’re well informed, and their acceptance of our project team in the area is much appreciated.’’

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow said that the project was one of the biggest the Region had seen for some time.

“Rockhampton Museum of Art will be a community hub for the visual arts so I think it is fitting that this project involves a large number of trades and suppliers from the local area in its construction and fit-outs.

“This project is not only creating jobs and helping the economy during the COVID-19 downturn, but it will continue to pay dividends for Rockhampton Region and beyond in years to come as a source of local pride and drawcard for tourists,” Mayor Strelow said.

In late June, another milestone occurred, with the largest concrete pour of the project to date. 360 cubic metres – more than 50 truckloads of Concrete – was delivered and poured in a seven hour operation from midnight to 7am. The pour will become the ceiling of the Touring Contemporary (Main Gallery) of the Museum.

The Rockhampton Museum of Art will feature two large flexible gallery spaces, three multi-purpose education spaces, a restaurant and retail space and a function area on the top floor overlooking the Fitzroy River.

The architecturally-designed three-storey building sits alongside the heritage-listed Customs House and will form part of a new cultural hub in the CBD.

When completed, it will be six times the size of the existing gallery and house the works of some of Australia’s most significant artists including Margaret Olley, Arthur Boyd, Russell Drysdale, Sidney Nolan, and Jeffrey Smart.

Mr Percival described the project as a ‘’once-in-a-lifetime’’ opportunity for Woollam.

“The Woollam Constructions story is unique in Rockhampton’s history,’’ he said. ‘’As Australia’s oldest privately-owned building company, this is a hometown in which Thomas Woollam secured one of his original construction contracts building the Bank of New South Wales in 1888.

“The Rockhampton Museum of Art will go down as a special chapter in the 136-year-old history of Woollam."

Rockhampton Museum of Art is funded by the Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund; the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and through the Building Our Regions program; and Rockhampton Regional Council.