When the money flowed and the sailing ships left on the rising tide, loaded with frozen meat for England, the banks couldn’t wait to come to town, each determined to outdo and outbuild its rivals.
The winner of the GEC (Great Edifice Contest) was definitely the Bank of New South Wales, whose building became an art gallery in 1983.
Not any old art gallery either. The Forrester is “ridiculously superb,” says one Austrian visitor. “The best art gallery I’ve ever seen in New Zealand” is Frenchman Bastien Caban’s Visitors Book comment.
“Wikied” writes Art from Arno - who may have trouble spelling or just be a big fan of Julian Assange.
Among the Forrester’s treasures are 20 Colin McCahon paintings, the earliest from 1931, the last a North Otago landscape painted in 1967.
Renowned round the world, Colin McCahon is New Zealand’s leading modern artist. 17 of his paintings were gifted by the Parsloe Family (Beatrice Parsloe was Colin McCahon’s sister) and can only be seen at the Forrester.
Another Colin - local painter, Colin Wheeler - also lures many to the Gallery. The Forrester’s Wheeler collection is always on display (and there’s more Wheeler works in the newly-renovated Opera House).
Great art, no charge, open 7 days - no wonder the Visitors Book in the Gallery reads like a world ABC: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada and Chile, right through to Switzerland, Thailand and the United States are all represented.
Join the party. Make this “excellent art space” your place when you’re in town.
THE FORRESTER GALLERY: 9 Thames Street, Oamaru
More info from the Oamaru i-SITE, Cnr Thames Highway and Itchen Street