1989 to 1990

Watt Space opening 1989Left to right: Bryan Bulley, George Drewery, Peter Singleton, Jacquie Henderson, William Bowmore OAM, Phil Oke.

Early in 1989 George Drewery, Jacquie Henderson and Bryan Bulley, art students of the Hunter Institute of Higher Education approached the Students Representative Council of the Hunter Institute with a proposal to establish a student art gallery in Newcastle.

George Drewery at Watt Space Opening
George Drewery, first Watt Space President and founding student, at opening night 1989.

28 September 1989 was the opening of Watt's Happening, the inaugural exhibition of Watt Space, the Hunter Institute Student Art Gallery at 11 Watt Street, Newcastle. Special guest William Bowmore opened the exhibition and made the first purchases, a painting by David Middlebrook and a ceramic urn by John Cliff.

Watt Space Original space on Watt Street
Watt Space in Watt Street, Newcastle, 1989

At the end of 1989 a Student Management Committee of President, George Drewery, Secretary Jacquie Henderson and Treasurer Simon Alberry run Watt Space for the first 12 months with financial support from the Student Representative Council of the Hunter Institute of Higher Education and the assistance of the staff of the School of Visual and Performing Arts headed by Graham Gilchrist.

In April 1990 Pippa Robinson is appointed as part-time director and exhibitions officer of Watt Space, and a formal Watt Space Management Committee of three students, three staff members of the Institute and three SRC representatives was established.

After the amalgamation of the University of Newcastle with the Hunter Institute of Higher Education in 1989 is formalised, Watt Space comes under auspices of the UoN Services Limited. The Union is the major sponsor of the gallery with the Faculty of Art and Design also contributing to the operating costs of the gallery.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.