30 YEARS... Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group celebrates its 30th anniversary next month. Pictured are members Anne Eyles; Gerri Muenchow, occupational health and safety officer/workshop co-coordinator; Betty Beare, one of the longest-serving current member from 1988; Helen Bagshaw, kitchen coordinator; Noreen Hatcher, patron; and Ron Wilson. 30 YEARS... Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group celebrates its 30th anniversary next month. Pictured are members Anne Eyles; Gerri Muenchow, occupational health and safety officer/workshop co-coordinator; Betty Beare, one of the longest-serving current member from 1988; Helen Bagshaw, kitchen coordinator; Noreen Hatcher, patron; and Ron Wilson.

Celebrating 30 years of NYP Art Group

For the Love of Art – Northern Yorke Peninsula Inc. 30th Anniversary History Editorial 19th February 2018.

The Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group was formerly unified as an art group at a meeting in 1988 and as an Incorporated body in early 1989 but the actual formation and beginnings of the ‘art group’ in the Yorke Peninsula region started as far back as early 1986 with just five very keen artists. Dot Hunt, Betty Beare, Vera Lowe, Marjory Jackson and a fifth person presumed to be Betty Brady were unable to continue their S.A. Tafe Art course due to shortages in numbers and decided that for the love of art they would meet, paint and socialise weekly.

Betty’s son in law Paul Thomas, a local Accountant at the time (now the Mayor of The District Council of Copper Coast) owned Truscott House on the corner of Taylor and Hallet Streets and had two small rooms available upstairs. The art group of the Yorke Peninsula began in these rooms and this is where history commences. Paul’s generosity of offering free rent enabled the group to flourish financially, socially and productively.

When creative spirits collide, the inspiration is infectious. By 1987 many others joined the 5 “sisters” to expand friendships and skills by bringing together artists from further afield. Artists joined from Port Broughton, Port Victoria, Wallaroo, Moonta and other country regions. The avid group of artists painted in varied media and styles using oils, watercolour, acrylic, pen and ink.

Numbers continued to grow, the group shared their skills and very soon there became the need for Tudors. Val Pope from Port Victoria became a valuable fortnightly resource. Val often tutored in small towns on the Yorke and was instrumental in raising the skills of the early members.  The 1988 original “family bunch” consisted of Betty Beare, Audrey Thomson, Heather Kavanagh, Joyce Humphries, Anne Gregory, Peggy Boakes, Beryl Maynard, Barbara Routley, Janet Ireland, Vera Lowe, Margaret Leahy, Betty Brady, Marjory Jackson, Val Pope, Dot Hunt, Carol Burnett, Carole Dyson, Thelma Bryant and Alf Pope.  Many artists from Port Broughton, Port Victoria and environs travelled down to paint with the group also.

As the group grew, the informal overseers within the group recognised the Group’s potential to be acknowledged throughout country South Australia. Dot Hunt noted that there was a dire need for a “Secretary or group organiser”. On the 8th December 1987 it was informally voted that Janet Ireland oversee Secretarial duties and Carole Dyson be acting Treasurer. A logo became the artists footprint and the artists called themselves The Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group. There were no joining fees only donations for general costs and Tudor fees.

The artists were versed in various mediums and the need to exhibit became apparent. The Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group held their first exhibition at the Yorke Peninsula Library Complex, Kadina on the 10th March 1988. The first public exhibition was opened by Noreen Hatcher, Owner /Director of The Peppers Gallery, Moonta. The display of 90 artworks by 26 artists placed the Art Group well and truly on the map with over 50 people in attendance at the opening.

On the 18th April 1988, Noreen Hatcher was invited to be the first Patroness of the group. She quoted that it was “an honour and a privilege to be invited by her peers” and accepted this position for many years. Noreen was an established artist in her own right having exhibited successfully outside the region and in addition tutored several original group members at Tafe and privately. Noreen, respected in the business community, was a member of the Advisory Arts Board for the Northern Cultural Trust Pt Pirie, Member of the Kernewek Lowender Art Prize Committee and in later years became President of the Traders Association. Her success was a platform for up and coming artists to exhibit at her business The Peppers Gallery, Corner of Muddy Lane and Wallaroo Road, Moonta.

To date there is no exact record of when the group moved to the Kadina Show Society Hall but the exhibition editorial in March 1988 states the Group were still at Truscott House. The Truscott House rooms were far too small to accommodate a growing group yet in the 8th December 1987 in group notes Dot Hunt has written that members are “rather cramped at Truscott House” and “proposed another venue be sought at a later date”. Dot had also quoted at the bottom of her notes, “On 9th February 1988 NYP art Group moved to Kadina H & F Show Society Hall, Moonta Rd”.  This conflicts with the editorial for the March exhibition but the records of the workshops in August and October confirm the use of the Show Hall in 1988.

 The wheels turned, the art family grew, and the first major workshop was held on the 13th and 14th August 1988 at the A H and F Show Society hall with visiting international Tudor Hang Ning with the assistance of Leonid Vasin. There were 16 artists in attendance at this watercolour workshop and another workshop was held in October of the same year with Leonid Vasin and Roland Bonnett.

There was a solid networking connection with Port Broughton artists at this stage and in November 1988 the NYP Art Group members were invited to visit Port Broughton to meet Rev. Glen Barnett of the Foot and Mouth Painters Association. Members travelled to converse with the local artists and see the exhibition in the Port Broughton Public School. During their visit they also toured Fishermans Bay and sketched the township. During the days and months ahead, the friendship and kinship of members throughout the group was similar to that of a family. The albums show photos of not only art instruction and production but of laughter and enjoyment, mentorship and companionship, the characteristics you see in a family.

The use of the Show Society Hall seemed to be a turning point for the group. Although there is no direct information due to missing minutes, there is evidence in editorials and photographs that imply that the use of the Show Hall gave nuance to the collaboration of the NYP Art Group and the Kadina  Show Society in the displaying and co-ordination of the artworks for the Kadina Agricultural Show. In an editorial dated 16th August 1988 it states the group supported the hardworking committee to achieve a wonderful display.

It was at the end of this very pivottable year that the first inaugural meeting was held, and minutes officially taken. On November 22nd, 1988, with Rex Brady as adviser, 23 group members met with the proposal of an agreement to form an Incorporated Group with a formal committee. It was proposed by Rex Brady and seconded by Anne Gregory that members proceed with legal requirements to become an incorporated body known as Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. Dot Hunt took the chair and a selection of formal committee members were elected by written vote. The first official Committee of the Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. were; President Dot Hunt, Vice President Marjory Jackson, Secretary Janet Ireland, Treasurer Carole Dyson. The members and the newly elected committee then unanimously voted that “all financial members be active within the group as committee members, with discussions being decided on a majority vote”, also members are to “be able to vote on Committee decisions” should they wish.  Immediately a proposal was given for the preparation of a legal Constitution before a formal AGM on 7th February 1989, on which a record of 40 members was in attendance. Noreen Hatcher was chosen to continue as Patroness for the art group. Membership cards were introduced at this meeting and joining fees set at $5 per year starting in 1989.

The Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. was certified as being incorporated on the 9th March 1989. The beginning of a formal Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. continued to be a year full of active interaction between artists, workshops with Sylvia Preston, members showcasing their art further afield and members exhibiting and visiting in the Advertiser Art Exhibition in Adelaide. The members exhibited successfully in the local Kernewek Lowender Art Exhibition, visited art shows for the love of Art and the socialising family aspect of the group did not fade but instead became productive.

It was at this time that local artists like Vera Lowe emerged. Vera held a 12-week Pencil and Drawing Course from the 7th February to 11th April 1989. The participants all received a “Seeing Drawing” Certificate. Vera Lowe was not only a talented artist but also was extremely talented at calligraphy.

The NYP Art Group Inc. is very proud to own the handmade book consisting of drawings from the Drawing class of 89 and Calligraphy by Vera Lowe. The large scrap paged size book is housed in a sturdy handcrafted timber box made by member Ron Kent.  Ron remains a long-standing member of the NYP Art Group today.

The values of the NYP Art Group Inc. extended to the Community. Wallaroo Hospital Art displays commenced in 1989 and the Hospital Auxiliary welcomed a return on a yearly basis. Artworks were donated to the hospital, the first being a painting by Geoff Locke of Port Victoria. The hardworking parenting committee of the NYP Group Inc. propelled the members forward with a 2nd Exhibition held in March 1990 at the Kadina Library. The exhibition displayed over 100 paintings and the 42 members, some from as far as Port Clinton and Ardrossan presented a strong following. In 1990 -91 there were ongoing activities, art bus trips to Hahndorf, tuition from Carole Dyson, life drawing, oil painting instruction and a watercolour workshop with Sylvia Preston. Members were gaining recognition for their talents and were noted as having won over 40 awards within the York Peninsula Shows.

In May 1991 the Constitution was documented as the Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. hereunder known as “The Group”.  

A joint venture between Yorke Peninsula and Mid North Tourist Association in January 1991 enabled NYP Group Inc. members to display their expertise and talents to a wider audience. The Country Collection Art and Craft Exhibition covered a wide range of skills and raised the visibility of each area’s Tourism assets. The exhibiters gained further recognition following the festival with a 3-day promotion at Port Dock Railway Museum in Port Adelaide for a 3-day event showcasing South Australia.

Ongoing growth within The Group Committee became a necessity due to the activities the members were engaging in at this stage. In February 1991 additional Committee members were elected with Dot Hunt remaining as President but assisted by Vice President Geoff Locke. Janet Ireland took her Secretarial duties seriously and remained in the position but was assisted by Minute Secretary Rex Brady and Publicity Officers Anne Gregory and Lyn Fullgrabe. Carole Dyson remained treasurer.

The editorial “NYP Art Group New Committee” dated Feb 91, describes the unity of the sibling comradery within the group socially, what freedom they had to publicly verse each other by way of poetry.

President Dot Hunt, Moonta.

Our President this year is Dot Hunt,
With words she can be very blunt,
But with gouche and a brush
She can make a rose blush,
And conversation is kept to a grunt.

Vice President Geoff Lock (Pt Victoria)

Geoff is a terrible tease,
Seascapes he tackles with ease,
He isn’t a snob
So Vice President’s his job,
To him should seem like a breeze.

Secretary, Janet Ireland (Kadina)

Janette runs around and arranges,
For Constitutional changes,
Then dabbles in oils
And the colour of soils,
When the distance turns them to ranges.

Minute Secretary, Rex Brady (Moonta)

Rex is our minute keeper,
He knows how to write them out proper,
He dots all his I’s
And is terribly wise,
At hanging paintings he is a show stopper

Treasurer, Carole Dyson (Wallaroo)

Carole looks after our treasure,
And also, just for good measure,
Uses pastel and paint
Without any restraint,
And makes all this work look like pleasure.

Publicity Officers, Anne Gregory (Pt. Clinton) Lynn Fullgrabe (Wallaroo)

Publicity is Anne and Lyn’s,
(Sometimes known as the siamese twins)
They insist that their chatter
Is a serious matter,
And idle gossip is not one of their sins.
(Writer unknown)

The networking exposure proved successful so on September 1st and 2nd, 1991 NYP Art Group Inc. abandoned the Yorke countryside for the ranges and greenery of Melrose. The Art Camp comprised of “family” activities like evening charades, fun and games, sketching, painting and a workshop with local Port Broughton artist Robert Dowling. The Melrose venue at Camp Willochra owned by the Anglican Diocese continued to be a popular yearly event until 2016.

The year of 1991 was repeatedly active with more Wallaroo Hospital and Library Exhibitions being held. In browsing the numerous photo albums, it is evident the members enjoyed the yearly Christmas parties immensely. This seemed to be a cascade of antics, dress-ups and ‘let your hair down and leave the paint brush home’ time. Just like a family Christmas party, no egos, no animosity just plain joy and laughter had by all.

In amongst the vibrant, active editorials of 1989 Ron Wilson emerged onto the Yorke art scene. Ron initially an oil painter was taught by local Tafe teacher Bronwen Lewis and tips from Noreen Hatcher. His expertise became apparent at the Kernewek Lowender Art Prize Exhibition on the 9th May 1989 when he received a commendation for his painting “Bush Meeting” Ron joined the NYP Art Group Inc. in 1992 and his career has placed him as one of the most respected watercolourists of the region. Ron was active within the Committee as early as 1996 and sat as Vice President in 2001, has held watercolour workshops, won numerous awards and remains a valued member of NYP Art Group today.

There are three existing members of the Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. today that also joined in the early 90’s. Helen Bagshaw was active in the group from 1988 and Gerry Muenchow has seen the Group evolve since 1993. Helen and Gerri both paint in watercolour with substantial flair and both have held active positions in The Group providing them “a means of becoming known as artists and selling their work”. Both Gerri and Ron have paintings in the Kernewek Lowender Collection. Gerri has achieved many accolades for her paintings and began working within the committee in 1997 having contributed substantially up until at least 2007 as a volunteer display organiser for the Kadina Show. Helen began her love of art being limited to just 6 coloured pencils but after leaving her childhood farm for private schooling a new world opened for her. She went on to receive honours in 1947 and 1948 Royal Drawing Society, London then on returning to the region to settle was inspired and mentored by Ron Wilson and Gerri Muenchow in watercolour. Her technique in watercolour painting includes subjects like quirky buildings and cafes. Helen also went on to serve as Vice President for 3 years, Treasurer in 2000- 03 (Vice President again 2012-13) and one of the most important positions, Kitchen Co-ordinator since 2011 to current 2018. Without her valued service we would all be without a cuppa.

Due to the initiative of Mayor Graham Wearne a small sub-committee of the NYP Art Group Inc. was formed in 1991 with the expectation of housing the ever growing Kernewek Lowender Art Collection as one unit. The Moonta Town Hall upstairs former Mayor’s parlour and adjoining rooms were vacant at the time and after hard work many members of The Group and the Sub-Committee Dot Hunt, Janette Ireland, Carole Dyson and Lyn Fullgrabe co-ordinated the hanging of the 23 paintings of the collection into its new home. The collaboration of the Northern Yorke Peninsula District Council and the Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. was praised by the Shadow Minister for Transport, Tourism and Marine, Ms Diana Laidlaw and guests at the official opening on 27th March, 1992. The first day the doors opened for Copper Triangle Gallery was January 14th, 1992. Although the NYP Art Group’s paintings complimented the Kernewek Lowender Collection at the Copper Triangle Gallery the Group’s base remained at Kadina. The Gallery exhibition space was manned by volunteers from with The Group’s membership.

The Group did not stop exhibiting their abundant talents elsewhere. During 1992, 1993 and 1994 The NYP Art Group Inc. continued to support displays at the Wallaroo Hospital and the Kadina Library in addition to facilitating visiting national and internationally known artist’s workshops, bus trips, Arts Week demonstrations and the continuing of the alliance with the Port Broughton artists. The members reciprocated their popularity in the community by sponsoring a “Public’s Choice Category” for the 1993 Kernewek Lowender Art prize. Paintings were regularly donated for raffles to the Wallaroo Hospital Auxiliary and members convened the Art Section of the Kadina Show, donating ribbons and awards for both Open and Children’s Sections.

The shenanigans of the Christmas luncheons repeated yearly and left members “rolling around the floor” with laughter. The frolics consisted of “The Kadina Art Group Tappers” Marjory Jackson and Carole Dyson, the “Knobbly Knees” (known as the male members) and dressing up for the occasions.

In a family there is always the “life of the party” and Geoff Lock seem to hold that title well. (See photo in this week's YP Country Times – ed)

The coalition of editorials and exposure by Publicity Officer, Betty Beare in 1994 is commended as these hold a chronological historical reference for the NYP Art Group Inc. activities. Betty, initially an avid oil painter over time due to commitments progressed to relax with watercolour which has proved very successful, having sold many in local exhibitions. When browsing albums many people stand out more than others and Dot Hunt is one of those matriarchs that kept the wheels turning. Her dedication to her work was exemplary particularly in the way of photography, she worked as a stringer for a Newspaper in Peterborough prior moving to Moonta. Dot had an affinity with nature and this connection reflected in her watercolour and gouache paintings. Although there are no minutes pertaining to the early 90’s it is confirmed by those who served as committee members that Dot Hunt received a Life Membership Award for her dedication as Secretary to NYP Art Group Inc. in 1995.

Geoff Lock and Verna Lock are highlighted in the 90’s as instrumental within The Group. Geoff became Vice President in 1991 and from there progressed to President in 1999. The couple held Field Trips to their Port Victoria home and Verna was, and still is revered as one of the most hardworking and well-liked women the group ever seen, holding the Treasurer position 1997, Secretary 1999 to 2000.  Verna is remembered for her Flinders Ranges and seascapes. Geoff, who still resides in Port Victoria is well known for his paintings of seascapes and ships and he is a member of the Australian Society of Maritime Artists. Locals to the region would recognise his talent at painting heritage landmarks like the Police Station. On the 6th August 1991 Geoff Lock donated an oil painting of the original Police Station Building in Graves St. Kadina to Chief Inspector Finnegan. The painting holds pride of place in the new Police Station building to this day.

The active 90’s confirms The Group’s participation in many excursions to areas within the Yorke. In 1994 painting excursions were held at Bowmans Park and Bute and a Plein-air workshop by Ivan Pederson enthused artists aplenty. Fundraising activities expanded in 1997 to include the yearly Anti-Cancer Foundation’s “Have a Cuppa”. The first event was shared with neighbouring towns and like-minded artists in the field of quilting, dolls, miniatures, folk art, and crafts like home produce and egg artistry. Kernewek Lowender celebrations were taken seriously in the 90’s with artists dressing up heritage style and conducting sidewalk sales. Visitors admired the initiative immensely. There were many more workshops with Sylvia Preston, June Callagin, Keith Palmer, John Patchett, Cynthia Dowler and member Geoff Lock.

The Kernewek Lowender Art Prize Bi-annual Exhibition was also housed in The Copper Triangle Gallery and supported by members of NYP Art Group Inc. A record 1,200 people browsed the exhibition in 1993. Due to co-ordinating difficulties in the running of the busy The Copper Triangle Gallery at the 1993 June meeting a sub-committee was formed comprising of Marjory Jackson, Lyn Fullgrabe, Janette Ireland, Heather Cavanagh and Sharon Linke. The Copper Triangle Gallery was a successful platform for artists in The Group and as the Kernewek Lowender acquisitions grew the space became prohibitive. The access foyer below the stairs became the NYP Art Group’s Gallery seasonal space and with the assistance of members Ron Wilson, Gerri Muenchow and Dot Hunt the Gallery re-opened in October 1996 and the upstairs rooms became the sole space for The Kernewek Lowender Art Collection. The Moonta Gallery report July 1997 by Verna Lock quoted that it’s likely that “the proposed removal of this collection (meaning Kernewek) in 1999 to the proposed Cultural Centre” would affect the Gallery.

To celebrate The Group’s 10-year success in 1997 the NYP Art Group sponsored the Cornish Heritage Award for Kernewek Lowender. Despite the access to a community exhibition space the Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. returned to its old stomping ground for the first official 10 years celebrations with an exhibition at Kadina Library on the 31st March 1998. The years leading up to the 10th Anniversary of the Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. it is apparent from the editorials (as records are missing) that various members held active positions facilitating the over-all smooth running of activities. These were; Dot Hunt, Carole Dyson, Janet Ireland, Cathleen Fields, Geoff and Verna Lock, Audrey Thompson, Gerri Muenchow, Betty Beare, Ron Wilson, Lyn Fullgrabe, Barbara Clemas, Peggy Boakes, Robyn Hewett, Ann Gregory, Margaret Leahy of Port Broughton, Betty Brady, Fay Collins, Sharon Linke, Beryl Maynard, George Rankin, Thelma Bryant, Robert Wachla, Heather Cavanagh, Betty Lock and Joyce Hailstone.

Janet Ireland began in Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. in the early years of 1987 before incorporation and her talents are widely recognised artistically, in both mentoring and teaching, organisational skills within NYP, Kernewek Lowender Art Exhibitions, Ascot Community Gallery and Community Arts as a whole. Jeanette’s creative practice aims to provide diverse fresh, original artwork, picking up on a sense of place and emotion. She works in various mediums including print media. She currently holds lessons in painting at her home-based studio. Jeanette held the position of Secretary from 1989 to 1992 when she filled the position of Vice President.

Carole Dyson began drawing as a child, she paints in all mediums, admiring portraiture and still life the most. Her dedication to the Art Group over many years is commended as she held the position of Treasurer from 1987 for many years as well as President in 1998.

The national popularity of The Kernewek Lowender Art Collection acquisitions had filled the walls of  the upstairs Moonta Town Hall building and The  HYPERLINK "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_Council_of_Northern_Yorke_Peninsula" \o "District Council of Northern Yorke Peninsula" District Council of Northern Yorke Peninsula and the  HYPERLINK "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Town_of_Wallaroo" \o "Corporate Town of Wallaroo" Corporation of the Town of Wallaroo amalgamated in May 1997 to become The District Council of the Copper Coast, now known as The Copper Coast Council. The downstairs front rooms of The Copper Triangle Gallery became vacant. The Gallery remained well supported, opening seasonally by the members but consensus was that passing traffic was lost. Over time the stairs in The Copper Triangle Gallery became a hinderance and The Kernewek Collection had moved to Kadina into The Ascot Community Art Exhibition Gallery by December 1999 which was much a larger venue and at ground level with approved access.  By December 2000 the Art Group had abandoned its rights to the first-floor space as a permanent Gallery but instead as a need only basis. NYP Group Inc. Exhibitions, Art in the park displays, field trips, workshops and the ever-jolly Christmas parties continued.  

As a new millennium began so did this period of Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group’s history become turbulent. As with most families’ sibling rivalry rears its head and NYP Art Group travelled a rocky road, skeletons must remain in the family closet, but this turbulence affected the Group’s direction enormously. Of course, with the mark of maturity the members extended their boundaries and moved on to peaceful pastures. It was on the 20th February 2006 that Geoff Lock wrote his President’s Annual Report for 2004/05, “Another 12mths draws to a close with the Group’s departure from the Kadina Showgrounds after 18 years+ some”. This report concludes that in or about 2004 the Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. officially moved premises to the room at the rear of the Uniting Church, 45 Robert St. Moonta. It is well known that Helen Bagshaw along with member Henriette Norde approached the Uniting Church with the proposition to clean up the old room at the rear. The setting up of the NYP Art Group’s new room did take some effort from its members and the skills and expertise of Ron Kent. The ceilings required repair and hanging rails installed ensuring the room was serviceable. Ron’s handyman capacity was invaluable for The Group. Ron Kent dabbles in pen and ink artwork.

The group funds had dwindled slightly initially and even though funds were low the Group’s activities flourished in their new premises in 2005/06 with 11 workshops, an excursion and the continuance of the Melrose Art Camp but numbers within the group had declined from the previous record of 50 members in 2001 it went down to just 23 in the first year at Moonta. The acknowledgment of substantially sound talents within the Group’s artists led to the decision to source workshops from within the Group membership until funds increased. Ron Wilson was commended for his devotion to keeping the downstairs Copper Coast Gallery opened on weekends which enabled sales.

The AGM Meeting on the 14th February 2006 for the 1st year at Moonta records Geoff Lock President, Phil Joy Vice President, Anne Eyles Secretary, Val Joy Treasurer and for the first time additional Committee members were declared. They were Faye Collins, Maureen Mathieson, Doug Warmington and Henrietta Norde. There is no notation as to who Patron was and verbally speaking Ray Woodfield took over from Noreen Hatcher at some stage. Minutes from June 2008 confirm the position of Patroness as Barbara Evans and Patron as Rev. Ian Giles of the Uniting Church. Reverend Giles enjoyed the arts often visiting The Group for a morning cup of tea. Barbara’s position was exchanged to Noreen Hatcher in 2015. and Rev. Giles left Moonta in 2016 so was replaced by Polly Phillips. Polly is an avid follower of the arts in the Yorke and an instant visitor at art openings.

Geoff Lock remained President until July 2008. Minutes show no attendance at meetings from that date onwards to the end of 2008, he remained in the NYP Art Group Inc. along with his then wife Heather until 2014. Vice President Phil Joy took over quite regularly in 2008.

Although the use of the Moonta Town Hall was extremely successful for Kernewek Lowender in 2003 with over 100 paintings exhibited with sales exceeding $2,500 the ground floor rooms were continually vacant at other times so in October 2006 the Art Group learnt of what would be the demise of their Gallery space, that “the premises will become vacant and that the club will be kept informed”.  The President’s report 12th February 2008 notes “something could be in the wind for the Moonta Town Hall”.  The Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. vacated the Gallery completely on 17th March 2009 after a Special Meeting elected unanimously to book events and exhibitions individually to the Moonta Arts Promotion Group who had now begun plans to refurbish the front rooms of the Moonta Town Hall. The members voted against an offer to be represented in this new project, to be represented as one of the Conveners and to offer volunteers to assist in the running of the new Moonta Community Gallery of the Arts. Some would say that was the only option for the Art Group but a permanent representation within the Community was lost forever. The Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group officially opened the existing Art rooms as The Queens Square Gallery in 2010. The Queens Square Gallery was initially opened weekends and special events, seemingly successful in the first year.

The refurbishment of the original Council rooms in the Moonta Town Hall were completed with the assistance from The Moonta Arts Promotion Group Country Arts S.A., District Council of the Copper Coast, Arts officer Darryl Parker and Moonta Progress Association member Pamela Kerr. The Moonta Gallery of the Arts was officially opened with a Country Arts S.A. Exhibition with South Australian born, Scottish based artist Kym Needle in July 2009. The Gallery provides a platform for SA Regional Artists and is sponsored by The Copper Coast Council. The position of volunteer Gallery Co-ordinator was occupied by Pamela Kerr from May 2009. The Gallery staff operate on a volunteer basis between Gallery supporters and artists.

Lyn Fullgrabe has a gift in arranging paintings on blank walls that complement the space and highlights the artist’s technique and talent. Lyn expresses her talent as “Having learned to mix paint from a minimum of colours, I would mentally note what would be needed to mix a shadow colour for instance. I think that has helped with putting up exhibitions”. Being an active member of NYP Art Group in the 90’s and the expertise in displaying art allowed her abilities to flourish when NYP Art Group Inc. acquired the Copper Triangle Gallery space.  She is a devoted volunteer, hanging co-ordinator in the now Moonta Gallery of the Arts in the Moonta Town Hall and her valuable time is often spent to display artworks for many community exhibitions in Ascot Community Gallery, Kadina. Lyn’s aptitude as an artist is widely known, she studied drawing and design for 3 years but joined The Group to diversify. She still loves to draw and has an appreciation of contemporary art.

Barbara Basham began a long-term service as Treasurer in 2008 whilst Lorraine Povey sat as President. Lorraine remained President until 2010 having then taken over position of hanging co-ordinator of The Queens Square Gallery Art Group’s room. Lorraine started painting later in life and began exhibiting successfully with pastels. Barb Bassham remained Treasurer and Melrose Camp organiser for the Art Group until 2016. Her valued skills in overseeing financial records for 8 years has been of benefit for the Group in adversity and a ‘tight ship’ enabled funds to accumulate resulting in the enjoyment of activities. Together with Pat Barton they organised the yearly Melrose Art Camps, Barb’s dedication to Melrose resulted in many enjoyable years of frolics, art and poetry for Group members.  She paints in oils and acrylic with a realistic style and varied subject matter.

Phil Joy, a man who was inspired by birdlife became Secretary in 2002 and President in 2010- 13. A well-mannered chap who conducted group business efficiently Phil claimed one seat in the corner for his mini easel and weekly painting session in the Art Group’s room. This was often referred to as the “President’s Chair” and on 8th October 2013 when he resigned due to ill health Phil donated 2 paintings to the Art Group which hang permanently on the walls above his preferred painting position.

Henriette Norde and Anne Eyles were also a driving force for the members during the new millennium at Moonta. Anne was Secretary in 2001, 2004 and from 2006 until 2009. She dabbled in all mediums but found watercolour the most relaxing form to paint. Henriette Norde took her love of art seriously and opened a small home-based Gallery in Moonta Bay. Henriette had a panache for the quirky and her emus amused many a visitor to exhibitions. Henriette remained on the committee and was Vice President from 2011 to 2013 and was elected President in 2014. During her reign The Group commenced re-commenced fundraising yearly for Cancer through Cuppa for Cancer Campaign.

The enthusiasm of converting The Group’s room into its new-found name Queen’s Square Gallery in early 2000 faded with declining exposure and although constantly opened on Tuesdays the weekend traffic has remained slow. On specific occasions like Kernewek Lowender the Gallery has had an influx of visitors so in 2012 fixtures for hanging paintings, obtaining chairs from the Moonta Bowling Club and the introduction of spot lighting certainly gave the display a more professional appearance. The Queens Square Gallery remains opened every Tuesday and on “special” events and occasions.

Visitors are welcome on any Tuesday to see art in the making with many members painting in residence.

The strength of a family is within its members and like a family the Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. had gained momentum once more, the members enjoyed the socialising, mentoring and ongoing involvement with Kadina Show exhibits, Ascot Theatre gallery space, SALA exhibition involvement, workshops and field trips of course to Melrose Camp. Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. remained recognised in the new Community Gallery space The Moonta Gallery of the Arts with an exhibition on a yearly basis. Group Projects were introduced, the 1st being “Donaldson Andrews” in 2012, the historic rendition of “Port Hughs Jetty” in 2013 and “Wildflowers” in 2014. A combined talent in one artwork is an achievement, combining styles, colours and techniques resulted in three very collectable paintings.

In 2012 Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. commenced applications to gain Grants for workshops to expand the member’s skills and techniques. The yearly District Council of Copper Coast’s Community Grants had enabled the Group to extend their boundaries, use varied mediums and resulted in many Artists gaining the confidence to exhibit further outside the Copper Coast.

A new watercolourist appeared on the Art scene in 2012. Peter Aitchison had reached retirement and needed a hobby to amuse idle hands. After being inspired by Ron Wilson, Peter took to watercolour like a duck out of water. He joined the NYP Art Group Inc. in late 2012 and became Vice President in 2014. By that time, he had gained recognition throughout the Yorke Peninsula. The unquestionable individual technique of applying bright vibrant colour has seen his works gain accolades and prizes throughout country South Australia. In the position of Vice President in 2015 and President in 2016 -17 for Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. Peter has used his expertise to improve the Group’s facilities. In 2015 the Committee successfully applied to the Office of Ageing for a Positive Ageing Grant to enable The Group to obtain easels. Six adjustable easels were purchased in 2016 and the first workshop using the easels was held in May with Adelaide based Artist Heather Lorenzon. With the assistance of Workshop Grants from both the District Council of the Copper Coast and the Office of Ageing the easels have been well used. The Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. have held full house workshops over 2 years with South Australian based Artists Rosemary Gartlemann, Richard Rogers and Alan Ramanchandran. The kitchen area in the Group’s room received a clean-up and rearranging over 2016 opening the space to allow additional light. The generosity of the Uniting Church for the use of wooden trestles in the past had previously been sufficient but there was a need for space, so an upgrade was sought. In 2017 The Group successfully gained a grant from the District Council of Copper Coast to replace the trestles with lighter less cumbersome folding tables.

In 2017 Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. co-ordinated artworks with the community and the “Under the Umbrella” SALA Exhibition at Moonta gallery of the Arts and Ascot Community Gallery. The event, a display of painted umbrellas was a huge success in both Kadina and Moonta and well received by visitors and locals alike. The Chocolate Box Challenges create a stir as members are given tasks to achieve every 2 months. The diversity of the results was amazing and entertaining.

Although there are many members not named who have contributed to The Group over the 30 plus years, for without members there is no group, there are a few that have donated valuable time more recently to assist in smooth day to day running of activities. Pat Barton, Fay Collins, Joan Martin, Gladys McCulloch, Claudia Bollymeyer, Deirdre Edwards, Cherry Hall, Jeanette Benson, Pam Chapman and Jean Smith have held positions on the Committee. Jean Smith devoted 2 years as Secretary in 2012 -13, Treasurer 2016 -17 although she was active in the Group committee previously. She studied Art, for two terms at school and after raising a family her love of Art and affinity with animals, especially horses reflect in her paintings. Faye Collins was active within committee in the 90’s and was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from The Group in 2016 when she retired to Queensland. Joan Martin is a long serving member of almost 18years and her proficiency is watercolour, particularly birds and flowers. Gladys McCulloch whose expertise lie in figurative art and applying colour, assists Lorraine Povey in hanging paintings in the Group’s room, Queens Square Gallery.

Cherry Hall was Secretary in 2014 and instrumental in gaining 2 Life Drawing Classes for The Group. Deirdre Edwards joined The Group in 2014 and held the position of Secretary for 2years 2015-16. Her creative formula involves using an individual technique that engages the viewer to interpret the story behind the subject. Her style is contemporary, and her work is collected internationally. Pat Barton’s valuable assistance on the Committee as Vice President in 2013 has aided her to continue her socialising skills in her favourite past-time, facing new challenges, painting in watercolour, pastel and acrylic. Claudia Bollymeyer and Jeanette Benson are prolific artists, having held successful exhibitions and demonstrate expertise with their individual style. Claudia, Vice President in 2016 excels at collage whilst Jeanette employs a unique dabbling technique of layering watercolour and sat as Vice President in 2017. Pam Chapman, Assistant Secretary and Publicity Officer in 2016, Secretary 2017 to current, excels in acrylic using a broad scope of subject matter.

The current Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group Inc. current Committee is President Peter Aitchison, Vice President Jeanette Benson, Secretary Pam Chapman, Treasurer Jean Smith, OH & S Officer Gerri Muenchow, Publicity officer Pam Chapman, Kitchen Co-ordinator Helen Bagshaw, Gallery Co-ordinators Lorraine Povey and Gladys McCulloch, Workshop Co-ordinators Jeanette Benson, Peter Aitchison, Gerri Muenchow and Deirdre Edwards. The additional positions filled are Pat Barton and Heather Garfield. Patrons are Polly Phillips and Noreen Hatcher.

Noreen Hatcher is commended for her time and effort in making this “History” possible, a true “Grandmother”, a true Patron whose inspiration regarding The Group as a ‘family’ is greatly appreciated.

I would like to also thank the following for their time to source editorials, photos and minutes to piece together the history; Betty Beare, Anne Eyles and her Carer Lewis, Geoff and Heather Lock, Carole Dyson, Janette Ireland, Pam Chapman, Ron Wilson, Marjory Jackson, Pamela Kerr, Lyn Fullgrabe, Peter Aitkinson, Gerri Muenchow, Helen Bagshaw, Pam Bennett, Pamela Kerr, Lyn Fullgrabe.

In writing a historical reference times, places and people are mentioned as they are recorded within minutes, photographs and editorials within The Group’s archives. Due to some archives not available at this time gaps in history have been filled by interviewing past members. I apologise for any person, activity, event or reference that has been omitted and or incorrect. The addition of any missing documents or copies of same pertaining to the history of the Northern Yorke Peninsula Inc. archives would be appreciated.

Northern Yorke Peninsula Inc. 30th Anniversary History Editorial 19th February 2018.

List of Northern Yorke Peninsula Art Group past and present members currently collected:
Ron Wilson, Gerri Muenchow, Deirdre Edwards, 

Written by Deirdre Edwards

My accolades include over 14 solo exhibitions with 7 during the 5yrs prior to retiring to Moonta Bay. I have written and published 5 books in conjunction with exhibitions, one historical article, “The Backbone of Art in Broken Hill” and a 2-page newspaper article “The Willyama Art Society History”, Barrier Daily Truth. In addition, I was editor & photographer to one book and designed 2 book covers.

During 2009 and 2010 I published editorials on the Arts for Local Talk magazine.

Past and present members welcome to exhibit.
Uniting Church Hall Robert St. Moonta
Opening Hours
Open 11 – 4 Saturday and Sunday
Tea and coffee available free both days
Celebration Ceremony
To occur on Sunday 11th March 2018 at 2 pm.  
Peter Aitchinson to open. Mayor to speak. Two patrons acknowledged.

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2 Responses Found

  • Comment Link
    Scott Saturday, 25 August 2018 16:42

    I have a number of paintings from artist R Purcell from the Yorke Peninsula - purchased around 1988....the paintings marked 1986 & 1987 bearing his name. I can't remember what town - but he painted from his studio at home in the shed?
    He was thought to have had a steel plate inserted into his head / skull? Just wondering if he was still around & what value his works may be of today. The main painting we liked was titled 'Ol Smoko. Interested - Thanks Scott.

  • Comment Link
    Deirdre Edwards Thursday, 01 March 2018 18:50

    Its been a wonderful journey reading about Art on the Yorke. Thank you to the YP Times staff for creating the link to my article.