Bank Art Museum, Moree

Bank Art Museum Moree
Bank Art Museum Moree

A favourite spot among locals and visitors alike, Moree and its Bank Art Museum are ready and waiting for domestic travellers to return after a hard year of floods and COVID restrictions. Kate Tuart, director of the museum, takes us through some of the exciting things happening in her local town.

The History of the Bank Art Museum in Moree

Moree's Bank Art Museum has been in operation for more than 30 years, offering plenty of local culture as well as hosting large touring events such as the Dobell Art Prize and Art Express.

An important symbol in the community, the Bank Art Museum embraces Moree's historic past while constantly refreshing and reinventing itself to remain contemporary and new.

“Originally we were the Moree Plains Gallery, but in 2018 we rebranded as the Bank Art Museum,” Kate explains. “It was very much about refreshing our vision and getting engaged with the community again."

How did 2021 affect the business and town?

Like many towns across the regions with economies that rely on travellers stopping on their way through, COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions struck Moree hard.

"Tourism is a huge thing both for Moree and for the gallery, so COVID definitely made a huge hit," Kate says. “Thankfully we have been embraced by our local tourism and people looking for those regional centres.”

The situation was then worsened – first by drought and then extreme flooding which brought the town to a standstill. Despite the community rallying together to keep Moree up and running, the loss of tourism was felt keenly in the community.

“We get over 300,000 tourists each year compared to our population of about 8,000. That really brings a lot of economic growth with visitation to art galleries, shops and cafes," Kate explains.

“When [tourism] is restricted – as well as drought and then flood – it also creates an issue for the agricultural community.”

How are things today?

With lockdowns over and much-improved farming conditions expected over the summer, Kate and Moree's locals are hopeful for a better year.

“Thankfully we have a good harvest coming, so [for Moree] it’s going to be a booming crop and people will be happy,” she says.

“It’s kind of perfect timing because if it was still dry, people would be pretty down.”

How can we help?

For Moree and its residents, to help is simply to choose domestic travel and embrace road trips in 2022.

“We really would love people to get back out into the regional centres and support them, because it will be a long road to recovery out here," Kate states.

“That’s very much what regional towns are about – you know, stay a day or two, move onto the next place, find the quirky bits, talk to the locals and eat at the local restaurants. That’s the great joy of the country lifestyle.” 

Being a prime destination along the Great Artesian Drive means there is even more reason to travel to Moree.

Visitors can spend time at the Moree Aquatic centre for a fun day with the family or find a quiet moment to rejuvenate in some of Moree’s thermal pools. 

What do the locals recommend?

Despite being six hours inland, Moree locals love their swimming, and Kate is no exception. The town offers an aquatic centre, but for those wanting more natural baths options there are a few nearby.

While Kate is reluctant to give the locations of these up to us, she says if you look hard enough you’ll find plenty to choose from.

“That inland pathway, from Moree out to Lightning Ridge and Woororana ... the fish traps out there are a beautiful pathway to follow," Kate explains. "So once you start [out that way] you really get to see the culture of the Great Artesian Basin.”

Want more hidden gems like this?

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