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GALLERIES - MUSEUMS - ARTISTS - HERITAGE

Port Macquarie's unique history as NSW's major colonial settlement outside of Sydney has imbued it with a fascinating architectural inheritance and a treasure trove of mid-19th century artefacts. As the district grew during the 20th and into the 21st centuries, modern development has both unearthed and preserved a precious heritage that describes the history and lifestyle of Port Macquarie's early inhabitants.

HISTORY @ The Observatory Resort Hotel

Historic artefacts unearthed by The Observatory are on permanent display, providing a rare attraction for hotel guests and other visitors. The artefacts were uncovered with the authority of the NSW Heritage Office and under the supervision of a leading archaeologist during construction of The Observatory six years ago. They have now been professionally inventoried, restored, photographed and preserved.

The collection will go on display together with specially prepared interpretive panels, adding significantly to Port Macquarie's heritage catalogue.

Exhibition items cover a wide range from miscellaneous ceramics and porcelain, tooth paste pots, soap trays, hand-painted commemorative items, Willow pattern china, serving platters, pitchers, and scent and smelling salts bottles to clay smoking pipes, inkpots, lockets, a Victorian penny, copper coins, brass buttons �and chamber pots.

The early to middle 19th century household contents were mostly shipped from Europe when the owners migrated to Australia or acquired subsequently from shipments of goods imported mostly from England.

PORT MACQUARIE REGIONAL GALLERY

The Port Macquarie Regional Gallery offers the year-round opportunity for visitors to indulge in the finest exhibitions of works from the classic Archibald Prize right on through to an eclectic range of works by national, international and regional artists - without the city queues, and boasting free admission.

Touring exhibitions featured during your stay may include contemporary or historical works; local artisans who thrive in our hinterland present works from hand-crafted glass pieces (given as Australia's official gift to Princess Mary of Denmark) to silver cutlery formed into charming indigenous fauna shapes. The gallery's public program includes artist talks, guest speakers, educational activities, social events and theatrical and musical performances. As well, the gallery's shop showcases regional craft works for purchase as keenly-priced gifts or souvenirs.

The gallery is poised to move from its present location to Port Macquarie's new Glasshouse Arts, Conference and Entertainment Centre on Clarence Street in the central CBD where a special celebratory opening exhibition will be unveiled. Be part of Port Macquarie's modern history by visiting at this time.

*The Observatory Resort Hotel is a corporate sponsor of the Glasshouse Arts, Conference and Entertainment Centre.Currently located at: 80 Horton Street, Port Macquarie, at the entry to Peachtree Arcade.

Hours: Tues-Fri 10am to 4pm; Sat-Sun 10am to 2pm.
Tel: 6581 8737. www.portmacquarieregionalgallery.com.au

PORT MACQUARIE MUSEUM

Travel into our town's fascinating past, a location identified by Matthew Flinders just 14 years after the first settlement in Sydney, the port named for Governor Lachlan Macquarie and the first penal settlement established in 1821, followed by free settlers nine years later.

Handy to the central shopping district, Town Green and restaurants, Port Macquarie Museum occupies an original building constructed of hand-made bricks as a dwelling and shop in about 1835. Here you can learn about and explore our history and enduring heritage - see military memorabilia, uniforms and weapons; bricks, tools, implements and farming equipment; Victorian costumes, domestic utensils, furniture and textiles.At: 22 Clarence Street, Port Macquarie.

Open: Mon to Sat, 9.30am to 4.30pm.
Tel: 6583 1108. E:

MID-NORTH COAST MARITIME MUSEUM at Port Macquarie

Our wealth of maritime history dating from James Cook's first voyage is celebrated at the Pilot Cottages Museum - as to be expected, located overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the critical junction of the Hastings River and the sea, adjacent to Flagstaff Hill, Port Macquarie's prime vantage point.

Our maritime history over almost two centuries is honoured in displays tracing triumphs over the ocean elements to bring people and goods to the settlement and the inevitable tragedy of lives and vessels lost.

Heritage cruises on a restored early motor vessel visit significant points of interest including NSW's only heritage-listed slipway and leave from the complementary attraction, the Pilot Boat Shed & Museum.Pilots Cottages Museum open 7 days, 10am to 4pm.

At: Junction of Pacific Drive and William Street, eastern Port Macquarie (adjacent to Flagstaff Hill). Modest entry fees - tel: 6583 1866 for information.

Combined Museum tour & river cruise - after hours inquiries Ross Geary 6583 4505.

Pilot Boat Shed & Museum at the wharf end of Clarence Street open Mon to Fri 10am to 2pm; entry free. Tel 6584 2987.

Combined with river cruises on Tuesdays and Thursdays, modest prices - after hours inquiries Bob Bradley 6581 3711. Special charters available.

Hibbard Boat Yard & Slipway, Cnr Boundary Street & Narimba Close. Open Wed and Sat 9am to 2pm; entry free. Tel: 6583 8011.

E:

SUNSET GALLERY

Located on Sunset Parade at the edge of Port Macquarie's central CBD and adjacent to the picturesque Hastings River mouth, Rayner Sunset Gallery is a specialist in the works of renowned Australian artist Norman Lindsay. A distributor of Lindsay's etchings issued in limited editions and considered one of our foremost authorities on the artist's work, Sunset Gallery also offers authoritative books dealing with Lindsay's oil paintings and pencil drawings.

The gallery also features other famous Australian artists, hosts regular changing exhibitions and cocktail evening openings, and offers bespoke framing services.At: 15 Sunset Parade, Port Macquarie.

Open: Mon-Fri 10am to 5pm; Sat-Sun 10am to 2pm.
Tel: 6583 4100. E: www.sunsetgallery.com.au

ABORIGINAL ART

No need to travel to Uluru �Alpitye at Port offers the chance for visitors to mix a shopping excursion during coastal holidays with the opportunity to view a range of Aboriginal paintings by established and emerging artists from Central Australia. Located in Short Street opposite Coles supermarket, Alpitye deals in quality traditional and contemporary paintings from eastern, western and central desert artists. Certificates of authenticity, artist profiles supplied.

At: Shop 3, 19 Short Street, Port Macquarie.
Tel: 6583 4482, mobile 0408 097 189 for opening hours.
E: Louella Guild at

GORDON ROSSITER - Australian Landscape Artist

Ever yearned for a famous artist's work above the mantelpiece? Local artist Gordon Rossiter has won numerous awards for his work, featured in many international collections. Rossiters Fine Art Reproductions accepts commissions and offers limited edition reproductions of fine art paintings. See his work at his web site www.rossiterspaintings.com.au, on display at Sails Resort Port Macquarie, or by appointment in his own studio near Crescent Head, a short drive from Port Macquarie. Tutorials also offered.At: 994 Beranghi Road, Crescent Head.

Tel: 6566 0669. E:

POTTERY

Crystalline Pottery by Rod Page is one of the Port Macquarie region's wealth of artesan retreats nestled in the surrounding hinterland. Page has supplied galleries across Australia for the past three decades and his beautiful studio is now open to the public just a 20-minute country drive from central port Macquarie. For a special piece for your home or as a gift, see his vases, lamps, teapots, vessels, filtered water crocks, bird baths and more. Enhance your bathroom with an individually hand-made porcelain vanity basin in a range of colours, sizes and shapes, with matching feature tiles and accessories. A nice day in the countryside, three minutes from Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills.

At: 60 Jolly Nose Drive, Bonny Hills.
Tel/fax: 6585 4035. Open most days, but call prior to avoid disappointment.

MORE�

This is just a sampling of the variety of artistic and educational attractions to be found in the Port Macquarie region. You may also like to visit our Historic Courthouse in the CBD or, nearby, our magnificent local library (which welcomes visitors), and a number of other galleries around the district. For further information, please contact Reception at The Observatory Resort Hotel or call Port Macquarie Visitors Information Centre on 1300 303 155 or call in to the centre at the corner of Grant & Gore Streets for brochures and assistance.