$40 million gallery expansion begins with coal mine rehabilitation
The City of Newcastle has begun the first construction works for the $40 million Newcastle Art Gallery expansion.
Resting atop an abandoned coal mine, work will begin remediation with a specialist drill to remove and treat any contaminants.
The remediation is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023 subject to weather conditions and will target the 6.5m thick Borehole Coal Seam, which sits approximately 75m below ground level, and the 1 m thick located about 27 m below the ground.
More than 100 boreholes will be drilled across the site to enable the deployment of approximately 15,000 cubic meters of seam grout as part of the expansion project’s grouting and verification plan approved by Subsidence Advisory New South Wales.
The City of Newcastle has successfully applied for funding through the New South Wales Government’s Newcastle Mines Grouting Fund, which will contribute to the cost of the remediation.
Newcastle Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the remediation was a crucial step in keeping the site safe ahead of major expansion work, which is due to start in mid-2023.
“Newcastle’s long mining heritage means that much of the city center sits above a number of historic underground mine workings, which date back to the early 1800s,” Mayor Nelmes said.
“The remediation of these coal seams in the early stages of this project will ensure the long-term stability and protection of the expanded art gallery and its nationally significant $126 million collection, which has been relocated in secure off-site storage for the duration of the work. .”
Newcastle Art Gallery’s $40 million expansion project will provide an additional 1,600㎡ of exhibition space with dedicated areas for the gallery’s extensive collection on the lower level, while the upper level will accommodate a variety temporary exhibitions, featuring local, national and international artists.
The project includes a new cafe and retail store, multi-purpose and educational program space, a secure international standard loading dock and will extend the building’s footprint eastward along Darby and Queen streets.
Candidates shortlisted through the expression of interest process will be invited to tender for the main construction works later this year.
“We’ve been waiting over 16 years for this expansion to come to fruition, so it’s exciting to see this important milestone reached, paving the way for the start of major construction work next year,” said Mayor Nelmes.
“By doubling the size of the gallery, significantly increasing the exhibition space and providing a suite of modern facilities, this project will provide an enlarged and improved gallery of international reputation which will provide a valuable cultural tourism opportunity for Newcastle and the hunter.”