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Instagrammers, daytrippers and those seeking adventure take note… nearby, where the harbour meets the beautiful Australian bush, there is an amazing venue hidden away, and next month it will be holding one of our area’s must-see events.


It’s not very often that an event like this one comes along. The North Sydney Art Prize is an exhibition unlike any other – it’s the opportunity to view some extraordinary art in an extraordinary place, with one third of it exhibited underground in tunnels and chambers, and the remainder spread out over the surrounding area waiting to be discovered. It’s happening just around the corner next month at The Coal Loader in Waverton, and will appeal to young and old, art lovers and adventurers, and anyone who likes to discover something different right on our doorstep.

On daily from March 2 – March 17, The North Sydney Art Prize has continued to grow in both size and scope, and it’s now the biggest art event on this side of the Bridge. There are 115 works of art on exhibition this year, each truly unique, so it’s fitting that the location should be unique as well. The vast and historic Coal Loader, fascinating in itself, allows visitors to stroll and explore the varied artworks at leisure. These are displayed across varying landscapes – including the stunning Coal Loader Platform overlooking the harbour, the tunnels and chambers beneath it, and the surrounding parklands.

“For the first time pieces will be displayed on our new Coal Loader Platform and in 25 of the recently refurbished underground chambers, which adds a new dimension to the Art Prize and another space for visitors to explore,” says North Sydney Mayor, Jilly Gibson. “We also have several previous Art Prize winners returning this year with new works. I’m sure visitors will love discovering the varied and challenging pieces dotted around different parts of the Coal Loader, which has been transformed into a vibrant arts venue.”

There is a broad range of artworks, from paintings to sculptures, as well as new media and installation based work. Visitors will appreciate the timely theme of sustainability, and the impact of climate change and consumerism. The Coal Loader itself offers much on the topic too – it was primarily designed as a sustainability hub for the community.

Council’s Arts and Culture Team Leader, Alison Clark, says: “The theme was initiated in 2013 with the aim of inspiring artists working across disciplines to engage with the Coal Loader and its values. The art prize has encouraged a growing number of artists to respond to the brief with inventiveness.”

With a thought-provoking surprise around every corner, the peaceful surrounds of the Coal Loader to meander around and the fascinating underground tunnels to explore, The North Sydney Art Prize is definitely an event to put in the diary. Make a day of it with the Coal Loader Cafe on site, or see below for the public program of artist talks and free community art workshops that will also be on offer throughout the exhibition.     

The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability is located at 2 Balls Head Dr, Waverton. Please like their Facebook page for updates and event information: https://www.facebook.com/artsandculturenorthsydney/

The North Sydney Art Prize Exhibition is on daily, 10am-5pm, at The Coal Loader from March 2-17. 


Public Program of Artists Talks and Community Workshops (all free but some require booking)

Artist Talks, Saturday 9 March

Creative Workshop – Feathery Figures, Sunday 10 March (Bookings required)

Creative Workshop – Designing from Nature, Sunday 10 March (Bookings required)

Artist Talks, Saturday 16 March

Creative Workshop – Ritual Lantern Making, Sunday 17 March (Bookings required)

Creative Workshop – Spirit Mask Workshop, Sunday 17 March (Bookings required)