Catherine Woodham from the Kingaroy Arts Team shows off a wooden pot created for Coolabunia State School’s recent 125th anniversary celebrations by Peter Peachey from the South Burnett Woodcrafters; the pot is made up of 125 separate pieces of wood
A full-colour souvenir booklet about the Barambah Pottery exhibition is available at the Gallery for $15

July 9, 2016

The Kingaroy Art Gallery’s July exhibition offers an insight into a little-known aspect of the region’s past, along with a spread of beautiful craft works being created by present-day artisans.

This month the Gallery is unveiling the second part of its two-month Winter Craft Festival.

As well, a touring exhibition of Barambah Pottery is running alongside an exhibition of woodworks produced by the South Burnett Woodcrafters and paper tole works by Rosemarie Matthews-Frederick.

The Barambah Pottery exhibition has already been displayed at Childers, and will be shown at several other south-east Queensland venues before it finishes its tour at the State Library in December.

After this, those pieces which aren’t on loan will be returned to The Ration Shed Museum at Cherbourg to become part of its permanent collection.

Catherine Woodham from the Kingaroy Arts Team, who officially opened this month’s exhibition, said the group was extremely proud to host the Barambah Pottery Exhibition as part of this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations.

Ration Shed Museum committee members Grace Bond and Jeanette Brown also spoke about the exhibition, saying they were proud of the display but will be even happier when it finally returns to Cherbourg to find a permanent home in the complex.

Matthew Wengert, the co-curator the Barambah Pottery exhibition, told Friday’s opening night audience that
many people were unaware that Cherbourg was home to one of the first Indigenous art centres in Australia, or that the South Burnett can claim a place in Australian art history because of it.

Barambah Pottery operated in Cherbourg from 1969 to 1986 and preceded the well-known Western Desert indigenous art movement of the 1970s.

Many of the pieces it produced are now extremely rare because most of the company’s output was sold to international tourists through the Queensland Aboriginal Creations store in Brisbane and taken overseas.

Rocko Langton, the other Barambah Pottery exhibition co-curator, also spoke about the exhibition, saying a number of pieces in it had been bought from the UK and United States.

It was the largest collection of the pottery’s work exhibited anywhere, he said.

Rocko was the last employee to leave Barambah Pottery when the State Government closed down the enterprise in the late 1980s, and afterwards went on to a full-time career in the arts.

He is now part of Cherbourg’s Yidding Artists group has helped design numerous books for The Ration Shed, operates an art studio in the Ration Shed Museum’s complex, and is one of the mainstay members of Muddy Flats, as well as being an accomplished artist in his own right.

South Burnett Arts portfolio chair Cr Danita Potter congratulated the Kingaroy Arts Team on the exhibition and said it was great the Barambah Pottery exhibition was being exhibited in Kingaroy as part of this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations.

She also congratulated Rosemarie Matthews-Frederick and the South Burnett Woodcrafters on their own exhibitions.

“I used to be a member of the South Burnett Woodcrafters myself many years ago, and have always loved woodworking,” Cr Potter said.

“And Rosemarie, when I look at your marvellous paper tole creations I only wish I had your patience.”

  • The Winter Craft Festival and Barambah Pottery exhibition will remain on show at the Kingaroy Regional Art Gallery at 128 Haly Street in Kingaroy from 10:00am to 4:00pm weekdays, and 10:00am to 2:00pm on weekends, until the end of July; admission to view the exhibitions is free.
Ration Shed Museum members Grace Bond and Jeanette Brown came to the opening night to talk about the Barambah Pottery exhibition and the important role the pottery once played in Cherbourg
Barambah Pottery exhibition co-curator Matthew Wengert explained the history of the exhibition to Arts portfolio chair Cr Danita Potter
Award-winning paper tole craftworker Rosemarie Matthews-Frederick has a large number of works on show this month, including several that won prizes overseas
Barambah Pottery exhibition co-curator Rocko Langton was the last worker to leave Barambah Pottery in 1986, and has carved out a career in the arts over the last 30 years
Anne-Marie Buhmann came from the Gold Coast for the opening night, and was very impressed by the woodworks on show

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