National Gallery of Australia welcomes funding announcement

Wednesday 13 December 2006

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Media statements: Statement 1 | Statement 2

the new gallery extension interior

The National Gallery of Australia has warmly welcomed the Federal Government's decision to fund its new building program.

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National Gallery of Australia Extension Phase 1

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In a joint statement released today, National Gallery of Australia Council Chairman, Mr Rupert Myer, and Director, Mr Ron Radford, said they were delighted to announce that construction work on Stage 1 is scheduled to begin mid next year after the necessary planning approvals are received.

All being well, they said, the National Gallery's new extensions would be completed by 2009.The total cost of the building program is $93 million. This includes $20 million for the almost completed refurbishment of the existing building.

"This is an exciting day for the National Gallery of Australia, its staff, Members and many visitors," they said. "The building program announced today will provide the first increase in the National Gallery's permanent collection display space since the building was constructed. It will enable us to address the critical need to find display space for the estimated 140,000 works of art now in the National Collection."

The new extensions will include new Australian Indigenous galleries and a new home for the famous and popular Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan. They will also feature a multi-purpose space for educational activities and events. The function room will open onto a new Australian Garden. Stage 1 also includes a street level entrance, shop and facilities. The improved visitors' facilities were especially welcome, they said. In another new feature the Aboriginal Memorial Poles will be on display in a new purpose built display area inside the Gallery's main entrance.

Mr Myer and Mr Radford said the plans for the National Gallery's extensions were developed by Andrew Andersons of PTW Architects working in close collaboration with the Director, Gallery Council and staff. They acknowledged and expressed their appreciation for the valuable consultation undertaken during the design development in 2004 and 2005 by the architect of the original building, Colin Madigan.

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