By Abbey Cannan
The Pomona Railway Station Gallery is celebrating its 20th anniversary in March, where past volunteers and artists will gather to share stories of the gallery’s early days.
The 20th Anniversary Celebration will be held at the Gallery on 20 March at 2pm, where Sandy Bolton MP, Mayor Claire Stewart and the Hon. Alex Somalyay will be attending.
Volunteer manager Alan Falls said it was lovely that the gallery had survived 20 years.
“It’s going from strength to strength,“ he said.
“It’s a special little gallery, it was great that is was resurrected from the old Railway Station and reestablished on council land. Because of that, historically it’s quite valuable.“
Alan said there was many people in the Hinterland that loved to create art.
“It’s difficult to say why there is so many but there certainly is and we provide a service for them to display their work,“ he said.
“It’s something that involves me from day to day. I’m retired and I like to put something back into the community. It’s rather a privilege to be able to help out in this way.“
The Gallery is housed in the original Pomona Railway Buildings which moved to their current site in 2001.
Thanks to Robyn Jones and the Hon. Alex Somalyay MP retired, approvals and funding was received to create a space for local art to be exhibited to the public.
Pomona Railway Station closed in 1919 and the empty buildings quickly fell into ruin and their future seemed uncertain.
In 1997 they were offered for sale or removal for QR land to Noosa Council, who turned down the offer.
In December 1997, the Pomona Chamber of Commerce, concerned that the buildings would be lost to the town, wrote to QR asking them to donate the buildings to the community.
To the Chamber’s surprise, they received a quick reply offering the buildings on the condition that they be moved from QR land.
After negotiation between the Chamber and Council and the efforts of many volunteers, in April 2000 the buildings were moved onto council land on the other side of the tracks, across from the hotel.
The Federation funded Old Pomona Railway Station Gallery opened on March 24, 2001.
The development of the gallery continued with a grant from the Community Benefit Gambling fund when a railway carriage (used for storage) was converted to a new exhibition space.
In 2001, The Federation Sculpture was installed by Jason and Damon Makeig, Anthony Leigh, and Brian Adams.
Jan Hubner was also an important part of the gallery development. He was always on site, directing proceedings for carriage placement and project manager of the site works.
He also built the Black Smith Shed, a replica of a slab hut, which is now used for an artisan workspace.
Former manager Wendy Catlin said the mission of the gallery since the beginning was to promote local art and artisans.
“Today, the Gallery serves over 100 artists with a membership of 130,“ she said.
“Over the years the Gallery has been under various non-profit community organisations but always run by volunteers. Funding is provided by sales, memberships, donations, and grants.
“Today the gallery is an incorporated entity, The Hinterland Art Group, Inc., trading as Pomona Railway Station Gallery.“