Integrating industrial heritage, arts organisations and the community
The Arts Precinct is located in Section 49 Kingston (bound by Eastlake Parade and Wentworth Avenue and on the eastern edge of Telopea Park). The Arts Precinct will be the main visual entry point to the greater Kingston Foreshore area. It is home to some of Canberra’s oldest buildings including the Kingston Powerhouse (now home to Canberra Glassworks), The Fitters' Workshop (now a community facility) and Former Transport Depot. The site is significant for its association with Canberra’s early industrial history and its proximity to the Molonglo flood plains, an important Ngunnawal meeting place.
Central to the Arts Precinct are three of Canberra’s oldest heritage-listed buildings – The Powerhouse, The Former Transport Depot and The Fitters Workshop.
The Powerhouse was designed by Federal Government architect J.S.Murdoch, and supplied Canberra with coal generated electricity from 1915 until it was decommissioned in 1957. It was then used as a training facility by electricity authority ACTEW until 2000. You can read more about the Heritage Significance of the building here. A new Conservation Management Plan for the Kingston Powerhouse Historic Precinct is currently being prepared, the earlier plan for 2001 can be found here.
The Powerhouse is now home to the Canberra Glassworks which is housed entirely within the existing building, the fabric of which was left ‘as found’ without refurbishment or renovation. The Canberra Glassworks provides facilities for glass artists to produce high-quality commission glass art and exhibition work.
The Former Transport Depot
The Former Transport Depot was the centre of government transport operations in Canberra from 1927 to 1992 is now an historical Canberra Icon. It is particularly notable for the steel fully welded rigid portal frame that was built to support its roof in 1940-1941 and holds heritage significance. This construction is considered to be one of the earliest examples of this technology in the world of its size. You can read more about the heritage significance of the building here including the 2011 Conservation Management Plan.
The Fitters' Workshop
The Fitters’ Workshop was constructed in 1916-1917 and designed by John Smith Murdoch. It formed a key part of a wider industrial complex that enabled maintenance of government plant and equipment, and construction work. The Fitters’ Workshop is now a community facility, primarily used for arts and cultural use. You can read more about the heritage significance of the building here. The Conservation Management Plan was last updated in 2018 and can be viewed here.
The Arts Precinct will be home to:
- Canberra Contemporary Art Space
- Canberra Glassworks
- Craft ACT
- M16 Artspace
- Megalo Print Studio
- A new space for Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
When the precinct is developed there will be additional studio, residential accommodation, and gallery space to accommodate:
- Emerging artists
- Established artists
- Visiting artists
artsACT, as the ACT Government’s art agency, is working closely with these founding residents, the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Network, and the sector to ensure the precinct meets the growing needs of Canberra’s arts community.
More information: https://www.arts.act.gov.au/our-arts-facilities/kingston-arts-precinct