The Forrester Gallery is housed in a spectacular neo-classical building originally constructed in 1884 for the Bank of New South Wales. The Forrester offers the Waitaki and wider region a varied and exciting exhibition programme, houses a growing collection of artworks significant to the region, and stands as an icon of Ōamaru's unique historic precinct.
Support for local and emerging artists Our community gallery programme is designed specifically to support and encourage new and emerging artists in the Waitaki region. Find out more about the process for arranging an exhibition with us from our blog page here
Become a Volunteer We are always on the lookout for volunteers to help us meet and greet our visitors. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer please complete a registration form here.
History of the building The Forrester Gallery is registered as a Category 1 site by Heritage NZ. Its history dates back to 1882 when the Bank of New South Wales commissioned the architect R.A. Lawson to design a building to compete with the neighbouring Bank of Otago (now ANZ Bank). The building served as a bank and manager’s residence until 1979 when the Ōamaru Borough Council acquired the site in exchange for another in the central business district. Council had been searching for a suitable location for an Ōamaru gallery since 1965 when retired architect and former mayor, John Meggett Forrester left a substantial bequest for the founding of an art gallery. The Forrester Gallery is funded by the Waitaki District Council. Admission is free. Gallery fees and charges can be found here.