Southern Highland’s very first gallery to open next month


The first art gallery in the Southern Highlands. Ngununggula, will open to the public on October 12. Meaning “to belong” in the traditional language of the Gundungurra people, the gallery is located in a former dairy in Bowral and has been redesigned by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer.

Ngununggula director Megan Monte said delays in locking the gallery opening have done little to dampen the enthusiasm of gallery and area staff.

“We are so excited to finally be able to unveil Ngununggula to the public and begin this new chapter by engaging our local community and our visitors. It has been an unusual time to open a new gallery space, but we are so proud of what has been accomplished and look forward to welcoming people to experience the space and the beautiful works of Tamara Dean and Megan Cope ”, she says.

“The Southern Highlands already have such a vibrant creative community and across Ngununggula we aim to add to that and create a hub of art and culture in the region accessible to all.”

With four gallery spaces spanning the footprint of the 712m² building, with an additional entrance pavilion and educational space, Ngununggula will deliver a program that represents the region and beyond through major exhibitions, projects led by artists, live events, workshops, artist talks and public programs.

“I’ve been working on the concept for Ngununggula since 2017 and it’s so exciting to finally see this come true. We wanted to create a space to bring the community together with art and culture, and give the Southern Highlands a hub for residents and visitors of all ages to access some of the most important artists of our time, ”said the founder and artist of Ngununggula Ben. Quilty.

“It took an amazing team of people to bring this project to fruition, and we recognize the generous support of the NSW government through Create NSW, the Wingecarribee Shire Council and our wonderful donors. The world needs more artists, more thinkers, more activists, and a gallery is the place to foster it all.

A series of newly commissioned photographs and sculptural installations created over the past 18 months by acclaimed Australian artist Tamara Dean will be on display throughout the gallery as part of her inaugural exhibition High Jinks in the Hydrangeas, through December 12, 2021 The exhibit offers a perspective from our collective experience of seclusion and renewed appreciation of nature, with Dean using his environment of private gardens in the Southern Highlands as the center of his photographic work.

A full-scale installation by Megan Cope will be located in the Entrance Pavilion. Cope’s work, which will be on display for 12 months, consists of large-scale mapping, done in collaboration with the local Gundungurra Elder, Aunt Velma Mulcahy OAM and the wider Southern Highlands Aboriginal community. This is the first commission of the Entrance Pavilion, an annual initiative that demonstrates the gallery’s commitment to celebrating Gundungurra language and culture by inviting an Indigenous artist or collective to work with the community to create a site specific installation in the entrance pavilion of Ngununggula.

“From the start, Ngununggula wanted to be a game-changer for the Southern Highlands, and I am proud that the government of New South Wales, through the Regional Culture Fund, has played its part in making this visionary project a reality. “said the Minister for New South Wales. for the Arts, Don Harwin.

“With its beautiful setting, cultural heritage and magnificent exhibits, Ngununggula will be a major asset providing significant economic benefits to the Southern Highlands through employment and tourism, as well as its contribution to the vibrant arts and cultural life of the region.”
National Trust of Australia, NSW Executive Director Debbie Mills says it’s wonderful to see the work of the Trust and the Southern Highlands Regional Gallery.

“It is normal that the Ngununggula ‘membership’ will soon welcome visitors for the enjoyment of all. The Trust’s work in conserving and celebrating vibrant and authentic places is fully supported by the Southern Highlands Regional Gallery partnership. Ngununggula at Retford Park is a wonderful addition to continue James Fairfax AC’s passion for art, ”she says.

The lockdown delayed construction of the Hearth Cafe Gallery, which will now open in November 2021. For more information on the gallery, visit


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