BIG PLANS: The Bunker Cartoon Gallery has plans to double the gallery space and provide room for a café, commercial kitchen and a community work room.
BIG PLANS: The Bunker Cartoon Gallery has plans to double the gallery space and provide room for a café, commercial kitchen and a community work room. Janine Watson

Big step for new attraction

THE National Cartoon Gallery has taken the first big step in creating a major new attraction for Coffs Harbour by winning a $2.6 million grant to build an extension to the existing Bunker Gallery.

Plans for construction are under way and detailed engineering drawings will be submitted to council in coming months.

The second step in the process is to create a permanent historic exhibition showing the history of Australia from 1900, as seen through the eyes of cartoonists.

This exhibition and its promotion will cost in the vicinity of $2million with the great majority of this money to come from commercial sponsorship and grants.

When these projects are completed, Coffs Harbour will have a major new tourism and cultural attraction costing around $5million, which will have national and international significance.

There are still a few hurdles to be jumped.

While most of the money for these projects will come from out of town, the Gallery will have to find some money to contribute.

Grant bodies, councils and sponsors are reluctant to provide all the money for projects.

They prefer to see some funds contributed by the organisation promoting the project, as a way of demonstrating community support. For this reason, the National Cartoon Gallery (formally the Bunker Cartoon Gallery) is seeking some financial support from local businesses and individuals.

"The Gallery Management Committee has done a huge amount of voluntary work over the last 18 months to develop two projects that will make a major difference to Coffs Harbour,” said Gallery Chairman, Paul McKeon.

"With the $2.6 million grant for the Gallery extension, we are well on our way to creating a unique $5mill. attraction. However to achieve the goal of a world class, hi- tech historic exhibition, we need to find some local money.”

By assisting the gallery to contribute some funds to these projects, local businesses and individuals are investing in the future of Coffs Harbour.

"The local community made a significant financial contribution towards the restoration and conversion of the original war time bunker in the 1990s. We hope that locals will again demonstrate their financial support, so that we can attract the sponsorship / grant money necessary to create a world class gallery and exhibition.”