The Forrester Gallery is housed in a spectacular neo-classical building originally constructed in 1884 for the Bank of New South Wales. The Forrester, which is funded and administered by the Waitaki District Council, 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 Oamaru's unique whitestone historic district.
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 Oamaru Borough Council acquired the site in exchange for another in the central business district. Council had been searching for a suitable location for an Oamaru gallery since 1965 when retired architect and former mayor, John Meggett Forrester left a substantial bequest for the founding of an art gallery. After significant restoration including earthquake strengthening, the Forrester Gallery was opened in 1983.
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.
Cultural Facilities Development Project
In 2019 a new cultural facility will open its doors to the community and visitors to our district. The existing Forrester Gallery at 9 Thames Street will be upgraded and an adjoining building constructed to house the Gallery, Museum and Archive. To find out more about the Project and for opportunities to get involved visit this website