History of The Townsville Art Society


The Townsville Art Society (TAS) has had a number of ‘homes’ during its lifetime; more recent ones being in Northtown on the Mall, the Cat and Fiddle Arcade in the Townsville Mall, Kings Road Pimlico and now at Hut 25 - Gallery "Art at Jezzine" Jezzine Barracks, Mitchell Street North Ward. 

The Townsville Art Group was the genesis of the Townsville Art Society which came into being on 18 May 1962, although a group of artists had met earlier in May 1955 at Townsville High School to discuss the possibility of holding an art show.

The exhibition, entitled ‘As We See It’ was opened at the Tree of Knowledge, Lower Denham Street on 28 July. There were 91 entries, and comments in a visitors’ book were enthusiastic.

Encouraged by the success, ‘Artists of Townsville’ presented a second ‘As We See It’ exhibition from 7 to 10 June, 1956 with 96 entries and received another enthusiastic response.


On 14 June 1956, the exhibitors formed the Townsville Art Group and began planning their next exhibition.

This was to be a display of children’s paintings and was conducted in conjunction with the Children’s Library and held during Children’s Book Week in October.

A total of 350 children (ages 3 to 18 years) showed 400 pictures in the open air at the Tree of Knowledge.

It was the city’s first display of children’s art and the Townsville Daily ‘Bulletin’ commented that fewer than 20 of the children had any art training, but many had flair and imagination.


In 1969, the Society began to lobby the City Council with regard to establishing a regional gallery.

The pressure continued until 1974 when the Council agreed to form a committee to investigate the viability of establishing a public gallery for this region.  

After many battles, the historic ANZ Bank building in Flinders Mall was purchased by the City Council and refurbished. In 1980, it became the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery.

 In the late 1970’s, the Society became involved in lobbying the Queensland Government for the funds to establish Art Education courses at tertiary level.

Ref - from a History Compiled by Helen Kenny, ‘The Townsville Art Society — The First Twenty Years 1962—1982.