What was once the first port of call for travellers coming into New South Wales from Victoria after a stop at Customs House is getting a new lease on life.
The Turks Head, or Turks Head Hotel, has been transformed into Albury-Wodonga’s new gallery and photographer’s space.
Local photographer Dirk Wallace has grand plans for the old hotel, starting with an exhibition celebrating everything the Border opening on Friday 14 February. After bidding for and successfully acquiring the 150-year-old building on a 10-year lease, Dirk, and many helping hands, have spent the past 12 months breathing new life into the historic landmark.
The gallery is completely self-funded and the local photography community has rallied around Dirk to get it ready for opening night.
“It’s taken a fair bit to do the internals,” Dirk told Bordercafe.com.au.
“The council have put in new toilets and done a lot of work outside. Everything else I’ve done myself with a lot of volunteers,” Dirk said.
The newly minted Turks Head Gallery is light and bright and the many accommodation rooms and larger central salon, or bar area, will house around 60 submissions from 45 members of the Albury Wodonga Photography Group.
Responding to a relatively open brief, group members were invited to submit photographs showcasing what they love about our region in a fitting opening exhibition running until mid-May.
Showcasing local talent isn’t the only thing Dirk has on the cards. There will be studio space which can be hired out and an educational room which will host artist talks, documentary screenings and photography classes and workshops and will also be available for hire. The outbuilding will be redeveloped into a fully functioning darkroom and printing area and will double as a library and hangout space.
Working from the principle of filling the building with beautiful pictures, the photography will take centre stage during the grand opening.
Drawing on his experience working in Sydney and seeing what facilities are available in the city, Dirk recognised the need for a space like this to foster creativity and learning and provide a place for the area’s vibrant photography community to connect.
“I’ve always had a dream to do something like this. It’s probably a crazy dream, but a dream none the less, and then it all just started falling into place,” Dirk said.
For more information on the gallery, visit turksheadgallery.com. The Turks Head Gallery is also part of the Upstream festival celebrating the best of Albury Wodonga arts and culture from 6 – 9 March.