The meticulous record-keeping of the Art Gallery of Ballarat's first secretary in the 1800s gave historian Dr Anne Beggs-Sunter a real insight in to how the institution came to be.
And the careful recordings of the first gallery secretary James Powell continued through the years as the gallery developed.
The story of the Art Gallery of Ballarat is told in a new book by Dr Beggs-Sunter which was officially launched at the gallery on Sunday.
The new book Not for self but for all: A history of the Art Gallery of Ballarat Association tells the story of the association which founded the gallery in 1884 and still exists to support it. Its title comes from an early crest of the gallery which Mr Powell devised.
“To my mind it the Art Gallery of Ballarat is one of the most welcoming and engaging of Australia’s regional galleries, and a huge part of what makes it so is the strength and passion of the gallery association," said gallery director Louise Tegart.
“The gallery’s early motto ‘not for self but for all’ is an important key to the gallery’s success through its long history, and it is an ethos that we need to continue to work to in the future, ensuring that the gallery remains open to the widest range of audiences possible and engages with visitors in new ways."
Dr Beggs-Sunter, who was association secretary for 23 years and is a historian at the Collaborative Research Centre in Australian History at Federation University, said it was a labour of love to write the gallery history.
“Since 1884 there have been so many wonderful people who have nurtured the gallery and its collection, and I hope that my account celebrates the importance of community.”
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.