Art, Galleries & Museums
An everchanging world of art and heritage is at your fingertips with a vibrant community of local artisans and historians. Explore studios, galleries and museums.
Due to COVID-19 many of our galleries and museums have had to make changes to their opening hours and visitor limits, so please check direct with the venue before setting out.
See the region’s best at Bega Valley Regional Gallery, take a day trip and explore the Coast Road Art Trail between Bermagui and Tathra or explore museums and community galleries Bega, Cobargo, Merimbula Pambula and Eden.
Calendar highlights are Australia’s first youth portraiture award, The Shirl, Bermagui’s Sculpture Bermagui (March) and the Shirley Hannan National Portraiture Award and the Festival of the Face which brings art into the streets of Bega.
Feature image: 'Boulders', wood fired terracotta by Daniel Lafferty. Photo credit Alice Lafferty.
Eden Killer Whale Museum
The Eden Killer Whale Museum has been telling Eden’s stories for over 80 years and is home to one of the only orca skeletons in the world, that of Old Tom, Eden’s famous killer whale.
Old Tom the Killer Whale, was the most boisterous of the killer whales who hunted baleen whales with the Davidson family in the 1800s. At times Old Tom and the pod numbered up to 36, many of which were known by name to the whalers. Previous to settlement, the orcas had special relationship with the local Yuin people and it was through this connection that they bonded with the whalers, whose crews often included Yuin men.
The museum has commanding views over the bay, whale watching platform, bookshop. It also showcases maritime and timber history along with regular travelling exhibitions.
A visit here is not complete with some time spent on the vast sun-drenched deck which overlooks Twofold Bay. It’s a great place to watch whales from and if you spot one the staff will sound a loud siren that lets the whole town know there is a whale to be seen from shore. The museum shop also houses a great collection of local and regional literature and gifts.
Monday to Saturday: 9.15am to 3.45pm
Sunday: 11.15am to 3.45pm.
Extended trading hours over the Christmas holiday period. Closed Christmas Day.
Entry Adults $12, Children (5 to 15 years) $3, Children (under 5 years) free.
Tours can be arranged for groups of 10 or more. Please call the museum on (02) 6494 2094 or visit the booking page to enquire.
Annual passes Adults $24, Children $6.
Lazy Lizard Gallery
Lazy Lizard Gallery features the work of enthusiastic artists from Cobargo and surrounds, housed in a former service station, complete with drive-through bowsers.
The gallery offers a range of quality and quirky work, including metal and timber sculptures, wood fired pottery, paintings, drawings, photographs, natural fibre products, textiles, jewellery, woodwork, chef knives and literature.
Open Wednesday, Thursday Friday, 10am to 4pm. Saturday 10am to 2pm.
Bega Valley Regional Gallery
Bega Valley Regional Gallery is the region’s only publicly funded gallery and an outpost for contemporary visual culture.
It is idyllically situated within the Bega Valley Shire on the land of the original custodians, the people of the Yuin Nation.
Holding up to eight important exhibitions annually, workshops and screenings, the gallery also boasts one of the country’s richest and most loved portrait awards, the Shirley Hannan National Portraiture Award, a $50,000 non-acquisitive prize for realistic portraiture.
The Bega Valley Regional Gallery is funded by the Bega Valley Shire Council, and the NSW Government through Arts NSW.
Partners include Art Gallery of NSW, The National Maritime Museum, The Australian War Memorial, Museums & Galleries NSW, Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA), Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art and University of New South Wales Art & Design to name a few.
The gallery also collaborates with fellow professional arts organisations, fLiNG Physical Theatre, Four Winds Festival and South East Arts.
For more information on each individual exhibition, follow the link to the Bega Valley Regional Gallery here.
- Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm – Entry is Free.
- Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and most public holidays.
A vital component of its parent organisation, the Bega Valley Shire Council, the gallery adheres to the BVSC guiding principles of Equity, Access and Participation while being the primary way cultural services are provided to the growing region. The gallery is an important resource for its artistically rich and diverse community.
Artists in regional and remote places don’t have access to services in the same way as metropolitan Australians. This is a challenge, not a disadvantage. Regional people work more closely together, rely on each other: you have to nurture relationships when there is only one framer in town, you need to plan ahead when the barge only delivers goods once a week. Regional arts bring people together.
Regional Arts Australia, Stats & Stories.
David Mills Studio Gallery
Davids’ paintings convey sensations of delight or deep consciousness for the human condition. Fantasy or nature impact on the viewer. Davids’ art is an expression of himself, the works have a way of stirring the emotions.
There is a rich Australian flavour in the colour and re-occurring symbols including people, flora, fauna, coastal and outback landscapes and buildings. Yet these much-loved scenarios can have humorous twists, a glimpse of an event in motion, hints of underlying tension or distorted concepts.
Studio is open by appointment only.
02 6494 5955
0428 004 663
The Cobargo Creators Gallery
The Sapphire Coast is a vibrant community of local artisans producing extraordinary work, inspired by where we live. The Cobargo Creators Centre a not for profit community group is the home of the Cobargo Creators Gallery made up of local south coast artisans and their handmade beautifully crafted work. The gallery is open 7 days a week with gifts and inspiration as well as sharing skills resources and ideas with its members and visitors. Other initiatives include The Art and Craft Bank a wonderful free community resource of art n’ craft materials, creative workshop programme, exhibitions throughout the year including the annual 8xEIGHT exhibition, and Saturday markets.
Art 4 Fun: Art Classes for all
Art 4 Fun in Eden offer art classes and tutorials for adults and children. Offering classes in Eden and Pambula, it’s a wonderful environment to get creative and learn some new skills. Art packs also available.
Shop7 Art Space
Shop 7 Art Spaces has a diverse exhibition calendar, and enjoys a prime location in the architecturally designed Bermagui Fishermen’s Wharf.
The gallery has ongoing exhibitions and mediums by a variety of local artists.
Open Monday 10am to 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 9pm.
Oaklands Village Gallery, Pambula
The Village Gallery at Oaklands in Pambula is a co-operative art space surrounded by a thriving nursery, bustling cafe and and picturesque barn.
The gallery is the home of the Merimbula and Districts Arts Group which exhibits paintings, pottery, jewellery, woodwork, stained glass and textiles.
Open daily from 10 till 4pm.
Closed Mondays in winter, Christmas Day and Good Friday.
Artessence Gallery is owned and run by husband and wife team, Rob and Deb Evans. The gallery occupies the former McKell’s butcher shop, built in the 1860s and is known as the birthplace of Sir William McKell, former NSW premier and Governor General of Australia.
On display in the gallery is a diverse range of art including paintings, lino-cuts, fine art prints, photography, ceramics, jewellery and textiles. Over 30 local artists are featured including Cheryl Davison, Peter Dunne, Nicole Grimm-Hewitt, Nicki Hall, Richard Siemens and Stan Squire.
The artworks on display change throughout the year, with an eclectic mixture of art to appeal to a wide range of tastes and price ranges. The emphasis is on local art, showcasing the beautiful Sapphire Coast.
The gallery is also the home of Sapphire Coast Images, a collection of photographs of the Sapphire Coast from a range of local photographers. Photographs can be custom ordered and are printed and framed to your requirements. In-house photographer Rob Evans is on hand to discuss your photographic needs.
Hours: Monday – Friday 10am – 4.30pm Saturday: 10am – 12.30pm
Find them on social media
Frame and Brush Bermagui
Frame and Brush Bermagui offers custom framing, art supplies, books and art tuition. Running for over ten years, we provide expertise skills in framing using non-reflective glass, canvas stretching and preservation of fine art works. We offer an extensive range of art supplies and stationary goods. Throughout the September/October school holidays we will give ten percent discount to school children.
Justina has taught adults and children art classes and is available for pop up or ongoing tuition. For the River of Art Festival , Frame and Brush will be holding an exhibition ‘Down by the Dunes’. Details at https://www.riverofart.com.au/. Open six days a week or visit our website www.frameandbrush.com.au for further details.
Peter Dunne Artist & Studio Gallery
Peter Dunne is originally from Melbourne, and has painted landscapes locally, in other regions and overseas for many years.
Peter’s preferred medium is watercolour and oils, for which he has won many awards. If you would like a sketch portrait please contact him to arrange an appointment.
Open most weekends and holidays 2pm to 5pm.
02 6495 9082
0418 864 727
Old School Museum
The Old School Museum dates from 1873, when it was built as a school, and is one of only two buildings remaining in the town from those early years.
The original people of the lake were the Aborigines of the Yuin Nation who for thousands of years enjoyed the abundance of fish and oysters.
In 1860 Matthew Munn arrived from Scotland and made a fortune from cornflour, creating his own private village, Merimbula. However on his death, his son Armstrong inherited the Munn fortune and, unwisely investing around £60,000 in the goldfields of Pambula, he lost the lot! You can read more of the Munn story, along Illawarra & South Coast Steamship company and our connection with Charles Darwin, at the Old School Museum.
Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday 1.30pm to 4pm.
Ivy Hill Gallery
Ivy Hill Gallery online features the work of significant contemporary artists, both emerging and established, many of whom live and work in the region
Please check the website for the artists and dates showing.
The Bega Pioneers’ Museum
‘The Great War: Tales from the Far South Coast’ tells local stories of courage, resilience and commitment and puts the catastrophic events of World War One into a regional context through stories, objects and images.
View ‘A Camera on Gallipoli’; an Australian War Memorial photographic display of images by Sir Charles Ryan featuring some of the most significant images of the Gallipoli campaign.
Discover the history of the town and its industries, browse the state’s largest collection of pioneer photographs and inspect an impressive range of early farm machinery including an authentic horse-drawn reaper and binder and a Fordson model F tractor, the first mass-produced tractor.
Group bookings by appointment, phone 6492 1453.
Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10am-4pm.
Saturdays 10 am-2pm. Closed local public holidays.
Entry Adults $5, Seniors & Pensioners $3, Children under 12 free.
Facilities Toilets, car and bus parking, guided tours, information brochure.
Visit the Facebook page
The gallery is a not-for-profit organisation, promoting established and emerging artists through an exhibition program which reflects a variety of media and styles.
As well as solo shows, the gallery hosts community group shows and exhibitions by the artists themselves.
Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm. Saturday 10 am to 1pm. Note: extended opening hours from 9am-5pm from 16 to 24 Dec 2019. Follow them on facebook
From a drop to an ocean, water is life. We cannot live without it.
The WATER Open Art Prize will feature 47 works by 39 artists on the theme of water at Spiral Gallery. Running con-currently is the Water STREET ART Exhibition, on display in shop windows in Bega, where you can view contributions by the 21 & under aged artists. Collect your map @ Spiral for the STREET ART locations.
Both exhibitions will be judged by well known south coast artist Annie Franklin, & the First Prize Winners & Runners-up will be announced at the Opening on Friday 7 February 5pm. Runs to 3 March.
Phill Small Photography
Phill Small is an award winning fine art photographer based in Eden NSW.
Join Phill’s “Beaches of Eden” tours this Spring /Summer as he takes you on a relaxed short drive visiting three stunningly beautiful beaches within Ben Boyd National Park.
Enjoying fascinating personal time with Phill discussing his methodology of creating fine art
This is an unhurried tour with plenty of time to swim, take photos, or just take in the regions natural beauty
Here nature abounds, look for the white Bellied Sea Eagle, Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo, dolphins, fur seals and even whales during their migratory season
The beaches we visit are full of fascinating ancient and more modern European history, and they are breathtakingly beautiful.
Servicing the entire Sapphire Coast region, Phill is also experienced at outdoor weddings & special events and on location family and portrait photography as well as capturing sporting activities, high action and equestrian events and commercial ventures.
Phill also has an exquisite private collection of “fine art” photography featuring sweeping panoramas of our local region.
Bandicoot Pottery by Daniel Lafferty
Daniel Lafferty has been a practicing professional craft person for more than 30 years, originally studying a Diploma Visual Art at the Canberra School of Art.
A wood fire specialist with professional studio facilities, he specialises in exhibition and functional wares that are Korean inspired. An advocate of the natural environment and what it can provide, Daniel uses a wealth of raw materials such as clay and glaze materials, black wattle wood ash, feldspar and pyrophelite for his pieces. He then uses combination of clay, stone, wood, fire and ash to enrich and decorate the thrown forms. Daniel believes the appeal is in the endless variations of the natural ash glazes that capture the essence of the clay body and the firing process.
Daniel established Bandicoot Pottery in 1990. It is situated about 5 kms east of Cobargo on the Bermagui Road. Visitors are welcome by appointment only to experience pottery in action, be able to pick up a bargain or two and enjoy a learning experience. The pottery is hand crafted and individually designed specialising in functional decorative one off wood fired pieces.
See more of Daniel’s work on instagram.
The Wharf Local
The Wharf Local is a unique cafe and gallery located on the historic Tathra Steamer Wharf.
The beautiful building is wondrous in itself, but step inside and you’ll be thrilled to discover the work of many artisans, including ceramicists, jewellers, sculptures, painters, printers and more who create a diverse range of functional, wearable and fine art.
Local produce is the hero of the kitchen, with sit-down and take-away available.
Open 7 days in Summer, closed in August.
The Bega Cheese Heritage Centre
The Bega Cheese Heritage Centre is a faithful reconstruction of one of the first buildings on-site back in 1899. It’s upper level includes a museum and craft gallery which shows how dairying has shaped culture, and also changed over time.
To get there you drive through the working Bega Cheese Factory. During your visit you can also admire the views of dairying pastures, taste the range of Bega Cheese products, settle in at the coffee shop and speak to a local at the Visitor Information Centre.
Open 7 days. Closed Christmas Day, Anzac Day, Easter Sunday and Good Friday.
Visit the Bega Valley Regional Gallery to see the 2016 Archibald Prize!
Bermagui Mudworks & Cafe
Bermagui Mudworks Pottery & Cafe is a family owned studio gallery nestled in bushland just south of Bermagui.
Pop in to meet the makers, Mike & Kim Collingham, see them at work and browse the workshop, gallery & courtyard. The cafe serves coffee and cake.
Australian Pottery at Bemboka
Australian Pottery at Bemboka is a gallery featuring Australian pottery made in the last half century and includes both production ware and exhibition pieces.
Some of the featured gallery items are from our own collection, while others are sourced from the secondary market. All gallery items are available for sale.
October to June – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday 10am to 5pm.
Or by arrangement
Edward Willson is a contemporary Australian Sculptor, based at Bermagui. He uses a variety of mediums including stone, ceramics & cement and metalworks.
Please visit the website to learn more about Edward’s art and his sculptures. Contact Edward directly about visiting his workspace and his current exhibitions.
Montreal Goldfield’s story of gold, unsolved mystery and intrigue is unique.
The goldfield is located approximately 7km north of spectacular Bermagui on the far south coast of NSW and is a rare coastal alluvial goldfield, first mined in 1880.
Guided tours by local historians reveal the mysteries and fascinating anecdotes of times gone by. Follow boardwalks through the beautiful native forest, re-grown since the days of the gold-rush moonscape. Peer down the vertical mine shafts, try your hand at water divining. Time has brought back to life a forest of tree ferns, eucalypts and orchids, inhabited by sugar gliders, possums, lizards and diverse bird life.
The gold formed in igneous rocks in the hinterland over 30 million years ago, and as these ancient rocks were eroded by high levels of rainfall, traces of gold washed down rivers to accumulate in riverbed gravel. These ancient gravels were exposed by coastal erosion, to be discovered and mined some 30 million years after they originally formed.
Tours run daily at 2pm, or by appointment, and take about 1 1/4 hours. On Open Days, feast on old-time damper and tea.
$7.50 per person, children $5 and families $25.
Time: approx. 1¼ hours
Group bookings by appointment.
Sam Nerrie: Guided photography tours
Join Sam Nerrie for a magical guided photography tour of the Sapphire Coast.
For true immersion in nature, plus the chance to hone your photography skills from an expert, book in with international award winner, Sam Nerrie on a 1 or 2 day workshop. You’ll learn the skills of creating fabulous landscape and nature shots and how to make your images really stand out with newfound techniques and skills, plus enjoy spending time in our stunning natural environment.