Rusten House

Rusten House Art Centre is an 1861 NSW Heritage listed building, renovated for reuse as a gallery and workshop facility. Opening for the first time to the public as a community art centre and gallery from mid April 2021, it is owned and operated by Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.

The Centre is located at 87 Collett Street, Queanbeyan, and you can contact staff on 02 6285 6356 if you are interested in either hiring or exhibiting there.

Current and upcoming exhibitions

25 November - 16 December
Creative Distractions
Di Dibley, Roz Dibley, Anne Kennedy and Marion Schumacher


This exhibition with works by artists Di Dibley, Roz Dibley, Anne Kennedy and Marion Schumacher uses painting, pencil, pastel, textiles, glass, ceramics, and jewellery to respond to the natural world. Each Artist presents a uniquely different perspective through their material choice and subject matter that offers a varied experience throughout gallery the Rusten House galleries. There is an opening on Saturday November 25 at 2pm.

Di Dibley celebrates the aesthetics in nature and constructed objects through a mixed media practice. Their works in the exhibition highlight the beauty and fragility of our world and are a testimony to her love and respect for nature and an ongoing appreciation of both its power and vulnerability. Artistic interpretations of Australian trees and other forest entities showcase Di Dibley’s day to day experience of living with spotted gums, being by the sea and experiencing changing landscapes. 

Through a two- and three-dimensional practice Roz Dibley creates works that are whimsical, humorous, and serious. She explores still life and landscape, creating works in coloured pencils, oil pastel, and paintings on clay cylinders to tell scenic narratives.

Anne Kennedy enjoys using a range of materials to create landscapes. With glass as her canvas, she uses solder, copper, confetti glass and paint to create treed landscapes. She also creates hand-built clay planters and works with timber, believing that everything old can be used again. She plays with shadows and bursts of colour in her works that add depth, energy and mystery to her landscape works.

For artist Marion Schumacher painting is her life and soul and the reason she gets out of bed in the morning. Developing images on surfaces has given her a strong appreciation of the world, where she finds mundane and minute scenes to be quite fascinating on closer inspection. She states that “Art has opened my eyes to the beauty of this planet I live on and has created a desire to help others to appreciate what a wonderful place we inhabit. My paintings are very detailed, as I wish the viewer to linger a while, rather than catch the essence of the work and then move on.”

Roz Dibley - artwork still life

Image: Roz Dibley - Still life with wattle

Marion Schumacher - artwork of Murray River

Image: Marion Schumacher - acrylic - Murray River sunrise, Mildura

Di Dibley artwork

Image: Di Dibley - Forest floor secrets


Anne Kennedy artwork

Image: Anne Kennedy - Branching Out


28 October – 16 December BelongingJo Parsons     


This exhibition showcases a series of drawings and paintings where Parsons uses these mediums to deconstruct complex ideas of identity and belonging. The artist is based in Southeast NSW and has a practice that spans the last 35 years.


Jo Parsons_All things being equal - acrylic on canvas 2023

Image: Jo Parsons, All things being equal, Acrylic on canvas, 2023



Wednesday - Saturday - 10am - 4pm

  • Sunday - Tuesday - Closed
  • From Sunday to Tuesday Rusten House workshop space is available for hire

Hire of gallery and workshop

The gallery spaces and workshop are both available for hire.


Exhibitions run for three week blocks with a week for installation and deinstallation and the hire period is from Wednesday to Saturday.


  • Gallery 1 - Fever Ward Gallery (8.8m x 4.2m) (G1) - $260/week - minimum three week exhibition hire total = $780
  • Gallery 2 - Petite Gallery (4.44m x 5.4m) - $130/week - minimum three week exhibition hire total = $390
  • Gallery 3 - Reading Room Gallery - by invitation from Manager
  • Gallery 4 - The Workshop Gallery - by negotiation with Manager


The workshop space is available for meetings, exhibitions, art demonstrations, book launches and more. You can email to find out if we have suitable equipment available and to find out if the space will work for your event.


  • Half day (3 hours) - $52
  • Full day (6 hours) - $83
  • Weekend - $156

Terms and conditions


Lodge an exhibition proposal online using the form below

History of Rusten House

Rusten House started off as Queanbeyan's hospital in 1862. It is named after Matron Rusten who was employed along with her husband to care for the ill of the district until 1875.

Over the years it has had many purposes including as a hospital, nurses’ quarters, a home to various allied health services and even a café. The building is strongly associated with one of the region’s most respected Aboriginal elders Queen Nellie Hamilton, who passed away in care on 1 January 1897.

The restoration and transformation of Rusten House into a new art centre commenced in 2013 with a grant from the NSW Government Premier's Rural and Regional Grants Fund. It was further made possible through the Justice and Liquor NSW Infrastructure Grant Fund with matched funding from Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and the NSW Government Stronger Communities Fund. It was formerly opened on 21 April 2021.

Past exhibitions

28 October - 18 NovemberCreative Curiosities, Alison’s Wonderful Land Alison Archbold          

Step into an immersive world of artistic wonders at Alison Archbold's exhibition. Delight in the colourful watercolour pet portraits, experience the beauty of recycled tile & timber art, and be captivated by the vibrant bursts of alcohol ink florals on tile, before losing yourself in the curious mixed media creations, showcasing the enchanting lives of cherished budgies.

Alison Archbold Down the Rabbit Hole mixed media 2023

Image: Alison Archbold, Down the Rabbit Hole, Mixed Media, 2023

28 October - 18 November

Trees and Other Treasures
Judith Tokley

Tokley’s first solo exhibition reflects her love of remote places and the need to be still, which she expresses through the medium of painting. Her works embrace an emotional response to the environment, exploring the essence of landscape rather than a pictorial representation where colour, light, space and line are used as central motifs in her work.

Judith Tokley Cooleman Ridge No 1 acrylic on canvas 2019

Image: Judith Tokley, Cooleman Ridge No 1, Acrylic on canvas, 2019

2 September – 21 October

Magpies and More
Maria O'Donahoo

Maria O'Donahoo paints from her kitchen table, currently exploring one of her favourite subject matters; resident magpie Mrs Dude and its offspring. Maria loves her kitchen-studio as it allows her to continue a spot of cooking between brushstrokes. Maria has been painting for more than ten years and has been a regular exhibitor at the Queanbeyan Art Society, most recently as the winner of their Landcare Art Prize. This exhibition showcases her beloved magpies and their unique and quirky mannerisms, but other birds have infiltrated the space. Maria’s works are predominantly painted with acrylic in black and white with added subtleties of colour and gold that reflect her passion for Australian birds.

Maria O'Donahoo, Washing day, 2023.jpg

Image: Maria O'Donahoo, Washing day, 2023. 

30 September– 21 October
Tales from the late Anthropocene: Rise of marine megafauna.
David Smith

The exhibition Tales from the late Anthropocene: Rise of marine megafauna by David Smith is about climate change. Rather than repeating an urgent call to action, David is looking at a future where we have not responded and sea levels have risen, humanity has retreated from coastal cities, and a rapid evolution has given rise to new imagined marine animals. Smith’s sculptural works tap into the anthropic impact this crisis has on nature and the continual dialogue between humans and their environment to produce works that nudge our collective consciousness towards the reality of our imperilled planet.

Each sculpture elicits a narrative—a tale of a responsive, adapting world, of the preservation and decay, but also of sustained resilience and beauty in every epoch. Through this exhibition, David hopes to spark conversations, and perhaps, inspire actions that honour and preserve the fragile beauty of our earth before it’s too late.

David Smith Shopaholic

Image: David Smith, Shopaholic, metal and wood, 2022

30 September– 21 October
Cartography of Now  
The Canberra Printmaking Group 5 Ink                    

Cartography of Now is an exhibition of prints that invites viewers to explore the ever-changing landscapes of the lives of four Canberra printmakers. Through a range of techniques and styles, the prints in the exhibition capture the diverse and complex experiences of contemporary life of the artists to offer a visual map of their collective journeys through time and space. Ann Widdup intertwines themes of memory and place, Nicole Henry explores experiences of grief and personal loss, Giancarlo Savaris navigates masculine vulnerability, while Claire Young responds to the talk of a possible war in the Asia-Pacific region, collectively representing multiple narratives through their group practice.

Ann Widdup Four Rivers Series

Image: Ann Widdup, From the Four Rivers Series, woodcut, 2023

2 – 23 September
Hudddlestone & Mortimer

On a chance meeting, Michael Huddlestone (Garmarroongoo) and Dennis Mortimer decided to collaborate artistically.

Michael is an internationally renowned Aboriginal Artist from the Ngardi language group in the Roper River region of East Arnhem land.
Michael’s art is based on the Dreamtime stories associated with his country. Painted in the Arnhem Land bark painting tradition of rarrk (cross-hatching) designs, Michael depicts Dreamtime stories of spirit figures, hunting, fishing, singing and dancing ceremonies with the wildlife of Arnhem Land region including crocodiles, Kangaroos, turtles, dugongs, birds and fish. The animals represented in Michael’s work are important food sources for Aboriginal people.

Dennis is exhibiting recent work that responds to extinct and endangered fauna and flora. People worldwide, with lived experiences like no other time in history, are availed of informed data educating us on the environmental impacts of plastics, pesticides, forest decimation, monocultures and fossil fuel burning. Dennis’ works in the exhibition are from an ongoing visual art project, ‘Silent Canary’ and showcase extinct and endangered fauna and flora that express the aesthetics and beauty of what we are losing and have lost in the natural world.

Dennis Mortimer, Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io), Acrylic on Canvas, 2023.JPG

Image: Dennis Mortimer, Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io), acrylic on canvas, 2023.

29 July - 19 August 2023
Endless Possibilities
All Sorts Artist Collective

'The Allsorts' are a collective of artists from Canberra and surrounds. The exhibition 'Endless Possibilities' reflects the diverse styles of the group's work through their approach to nature of the area.

Rainbow Lorikeet painting

Image: Katie Volter, Cheeky Chap, 2023.


1-22 July 2023

Our Forest in Focus – the Wildlife that calls them home
The Canberra Tree Network with photographs by Graham Gall

The Canberra Tree Network is proud to present a photography exhibition showcasing some of the region’s spectacular trees and the creatures who live in them. This exhibition is a collaboration between ACT Government and Government House, Canberra Institute of Technology, Yarralumla Nursery, Australian Botanical Gardens, Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council, the National Arboretum Canberra, ANU, ACT Parks and Conservation Service. The stunning 22 photos were taken by local photographer Graham Gall. 

Spotted Pardolote photograph

Image: Graham Gall, Spotted Pardolote, Our forest in focus, 2023.

1 – 8 July
Frances Wild and Carol Williamson

Filmed as a meditation on the art of walking Ecce Red Hill, a short film by Frances Wild and Carol Williamson, follows a group of women who join forces to summit their local nature reserve in a weekly quest for wellness, friendship and a deeper connection to the landscape and one another. 

Ecce Red Hill colour photograph

Image: Still from Ecce Red Hill, colour photograph, Canberra, 2021. 


Fever Ward Gallery &  Petite Gallery
6 - 27 May 2023
Marsden Art Group

Exposed (2023) is a multimedia exhibition created by artists of the Marsden Art Group, featuring works centred around the theme - Exposed. As a group exhibition, it features a broad range of interpretations, each member bringing their own perspective and history to this exploration of ideas relating to exposure, vulnerability and revelation.

I'll just stand here- acrylic on canvas

Image: Val Gee, I'll just stand here, 2023, acrylic on canvas, 76x76cm.

Gallery 3 - Reading Room Gallery
1 April – 27 May
Nurturing Nature
Heather Groves

Nurturing nature is an exhibition of new woodcuts by Heather Groves. Abstract, figurative, and sculptural forms are observed by the artist at home and in nature. Groves uncovers the tensions among her subjects and uses wordplay and bright colour to exploit her ideas.

Woodcut print - Making mountains out of termite mounds

Image: Heather Groves, Making mountains out of termite mounds 1, 2022, woodcut with charbonnel ink on kozo paper, 15 x 15cm. 

Gallery 1 - Fever Ward Gallery
4 March - 29 April
There are battles yet to win: Feminist Posters 1979 to Now
Alison Alder and various artists. Curated by Cindi Gillmore

This exhibition of screen-printed posters from the collection of acclaimed artist Alison Alder, utilise both anger and humour to graphically illustrate some of the issues and events facing women in their struggle for equal rights over the last five decades in Australia.

This exhibition forms part of the QPRC Women’s Festival and the Queanbeyan-Palerang Heritage Festival. To attend the opening or ancillary events please book through our Women’s Festival page

Image: Alison Alder
Feminist poster - There are battles yet to win

Gallery 2 – Petite Gallery
4 – 25 February
Peace, Joy and Stillness
Susan Hey

In Peace, Joy and Stillness, Hey examines the beauty of light and shadow on water, by taking time in the moment to stop, listen and contemplate water. These special moments can easily be missed and by stopping to look through water from above or below Hey see’s the pattern and movement and feels the stillness and peace, she then translates these experiences into paint.

Image: Susan Hey Floating 8, encaustic on wood

Floating 8 by Susan Hey - encaustic on wood

Gallery 3 - Reading Room Gallery
4 February – 25 March
Under the Sun
Jane Duong

Under the sun is an exploration and celebration of public spaces and historical places in Queanbeyan - through the magic and coincidence that comes with the cyanotype process. Each cyanotype print is handmade, some have unique borders, some created with negatives contact sheets, some dipped directly into the Queanbeyan River, all are one-off photographs on cotton paper.

Image: Jane Duong Untitled, cyanotype print on cotton paper 28 x 40.5 cm  

Untitled - cyanotype print on cotton paper by Jane Duong

Gallery 2 – Petite Gallery
4 – 25 March
A Feminist at My Table
Claire Young and various Artists

A Feminist at My Table is an installation featuring the work of Claire Young from a series of screen-printed tablecloths made to spark conversations about heroes – or villains – over a meal. The feminists featured in this work are Bandler, Chisholm, Contos, Cowan, D’Aprano, Greer, Goldstein and Summers, who, despite their flaws or missteps, were just a few of the women with inspiring achievements who could have been included. Young’s tablecloth installation will be augmented by feminist chairs produced by local female artist to reside around this provocative table. 

Screenprint - A Feminist at my Table 2023

Image: Claire Young, A feminist at my table 2023, from multi-panel screenprint on cotton and linen tablecloth with hemstitched border. 240 x 143cm

28 October – 17 December – Reading Room Gallery

Helen Peart, Wendy Antoniak & Margaret Steele

Helen Peart, Wendy Antoniak and Margaret Steele are experienced artists who met at the Botanic Art Group at the Australian Botanic Gardens.  They work in varying media including watercolour, coloured pencil, acrylics, scratchboard, graphite and inks.  This exhibition is a collection of works resulting from the study of birds, their movements and habitat, along with reference material from photographs.

Eastern Rosella watercolour by Helen Peart

28 October – 19 November – Fever Ward Gallery & Gallery 2
Amanda Adrian, Prue Power and Lorri Blackwell
‘Enigmatic Pathways’

Amanda Adrian, Prue Power and Lorri Blackwell are working down ‘enigmatic pathways’ creating images that reflect their life experiences, current realities, fears, delights and their hopes for the future and our environment.

Carwoola Summer lino cut print by Amanda Adrian


30 September - 22 October - Fever Ward Gallery and Gallery 2

Sylvie Carter
Valleys, Views and Vines

Canberra born artist, Sylvie Carter, presents over seventy works in a rich and atmospheric solo exhibition exploring and appreciating the beautiful ‘Valleys, Views and Vineyards’ of Lake George, Wamboin, Bowral, Mossvale, Sydney and surrounding NSW region. Works include paintings of wild grasses, deep valleys, shadows and reflections, and the rhythmic land formations captured in oil and watercolour.

Sylvie Carter, Wildgrasses and Duck in Flight at Wingecarribee Creek

Image - Sylvie Carter, Wildgrasses and Duck in Flight at Wingecarribee Creek
Oil on canvas   

1 October - 22 October – Reading Room Gallery
Karen Warburton
Positives & Negatives

Karen transforms wood into unique 3D pieces that unveil deeply personal perceptions of reality in a colourful and textural form. Karen employs layering and different colour palettes to align with the design principles of positives and negatives to create these assemblages.

Photo of Karen Warburton's 3D artwork: Upcycle

Image – Karen Warburton- Upcycle

15 -16 October - Workshop Gallery
AZ Oakley
Happy JP Designs

AZ uses very fine paper cords as the media for her art, incorporating classic knot tying techniques to make 2D and 3D small objects.  This Arts Trail exhibition focuses on festive and ritual objects such as Christmas baubles, New Year’s wreath and jewellery, symbolizing special occasions such as ‘tie the knot’.

Class knot tied baubles


3-24 September - Fever Ward Gallery
Marilyn Hutchinson

FEEL is based on present moment drawings on paper creating  layered, abstract artworks using feelings. These are in response to different music genres, speeches and poetry reading. A second group of works in paint, in homage to Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama are referencing her infinity nets, letting feelings lead the way.

Marilyn Hutchinson - Untitled work

Image - Marilyn Hutchinson - Untitled
Soft pastel on paper - 59.4 x 84 cm

3 - 24 September - Gallery 2 and Reading Room Gallery
Celebrating 30 years of Wildcare

Wildcare Queanbeyan is celebrating 30 years of operating in the local area.  Established by volunteers and continuing with that model, Wildcare has continued with its core philosophy of rescue, raise, rehabilitate, release and has saved thousands of native animals, including macropods, birds, reptiles, wombats and small mammals.  This exhibition is about celebrating native wildlife through Wildcare’s eyes and features works in a range of media by Wildcare Members and Friends.

Photograph of a Kingfisher taken by Gary Cheung

Image: Gary Cheung, Kingfisher

2 – 23 July
Paul Martin
The Exploration of Space

A series of paintings based on actual exploration of space in both oil and water colour media. Martin  began this series in recognition of human evolution and ingenuity. He states that if we can do space exploration we can address climate change and human rights issues – this exhibition references this.

Paul Martin's painting Atlas V & Curiosity Landing on Mars 2019

Image : Paul Martin,  Atlas V & Curiosity Landing on Mars 2019
Oil on canvas  1520 x 910mm

Gallery 2 and Reading Room Gallery

2 – 23 July
Ingrid Ferguson, Rick Smyth, Ray Fraser, Jeanette Regan and Amanda Parker
Exploring Sculpture

This exhibition presents the works of a group of artists who delight in exchanging ideas but who have individual preferences in style, material and inspiration. See an eclectic mix of works and materials including stone, bronze and clay and a combination of natural forms and figurative works.

Internationally renowned sculptor and group mentor, Wojciech Pietranik will deliver a talk on sculptural processes at 3pm at the opening on Saturday 2 July.

Ingrid Ferguson Fish sculpture in sandstone

Image: Ingrid Ferguson, Fish
Sandstone - 20 x 40 x 8 cm

4 – 25 June
Mandy Ord, Jodie Zutt and Dennis Mortimer
3% 2022

An exhibition by three artists working in a variety of media; Mandy Ord, Jodie Ohm Zutt and Dennis Mortimer who attended Canberra School of Art during the early 1990s. The exhibition title ‘3%’ refers to a statement made by the Art School director Dr David Williams from his welcome to 1st-year students’ speech.

‘…five years after graduating, only 3% of graduates will have an art practice & only 1% of the 3% will be living wholly off their art practice.’

Opening 2-4pm Saturday 4th June

Blue Pieces of Paper to Get Food - digital print on metal by Jodie Zutt

Image: Jodie Zutt, Blue Pieces of Paper to Get Food
Digital print on metal

26 February - 14 May 2022
Art of the Tea Towel

Featuring a diverse display of Tea Towels from the past six decades. This exhibition explores the personal connections to textile treasures from collectors, designers and makers.

Please join us for a visual celebration of domestic art – the humble tea towel.

Tea towel picturing images of Queanbeyan by John-Pierre Favre


4 March - 2 April 2022
Alison Alder, Rachel Bowak, Mariana del Castillo and Sally Simpson
Making : acts of resistance

Celebrating artists of the Queanbeyan-Palerang region this exhibition spotlights local professionals who explore ideas of social justice, climate change and identity through time invested making practices.

These innovative works reflect contemporary art practice in printmaking, multimedia drawing, animation and sculpture.

Two artworks - Screenprint and Mixed Media piece

Image : left: Alison Alder, Remember Me 2020 (Screen print on paper, aluminium, plastic, steel, electric motor and pump, 120 x 80 x 50cm)
right: Mariana del Castillo, Facades and other baggage 2021-22 (Mixed media, 112 x 226 x 41cm Photo : Alex Asch)

8 – 30 April 2022
Networks Australia
Site Specific - artists respond to Rusten House

This exhibition draws public attention to the history of Rusten House, its architecture, surrounding heritage garden, uses of the building and relationship to community. The artworks of this textiles-based group convey ideas about the early development of Queanbeyan, its health and social systems, its people, approaches to land use and landscape design. There are many stories to be told.


Image: Wendy Dodd, Restoration, Spring fever, A Stitch in Time (Mixed fabrics, thread, paper, polystyrene, each piece 20 x 20x 20 x 35cm)

In conjunction with the exhibition, public programs at Rusten House have been planned. They are designed to bring the artists and the public together. These include the exhibition opening at 2pm then artists’ talks 2.30-3.30pm on Saturday 9 April, an Eco Dye Workshop on 30 April and a Textiles Conservator’s talk and Market Day on 23 April where the public can interact with the artists and buy small handmade items produced by the exhibitors.

Bookings are essential and can be made via the links to Eventbrite below:

3 - 26 February 2022
Yasmin Idriss
The 40+ Project

The 40+ Project is a series of photographs celebrating women in their forties and over. Idriss states ‘The entertainment industry and fashion magazines make it clear they think we are too old and we become invisible. We will NOT be invisible! Moreover, we are certainly never too old to be pampered, photographed, loved, admired and adored.’

Liquid Light

A study of the natural world around us, while playing with the lines between painting and photography. 

Veiled woman by Yasmin Idriss

Image – Yasmin Idriss

12 January - 19 February 2022
Our Forest in Focus | Graham Gall

The Canberra Tree Network is proud to present Our Forest in Focus – A photographic exhibition showcasing some of the region’s most spectacular trees. This exhibition is a collaboration between ACT Government and Government House, Parliament House, Yarralumla Nursery, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Namadgi National Park, National Capital Authority, The National Arboretum Canberra, ANU, Parks and Conservation and QPRC. The stunning photos were taken by local photographer Graham Gall.

Tree Eucalyptus Meliodora Government House by Graham Gall
Image - Graham Gall, Tree Eucalyptus Meliodora Government House
40 x 50 cm

Dreams of another place | Todd Fuller

For ten years, Sydney based Todd Fuller has been crafting hand-drawn animations exploring themes of love, loss, place, community, and difference. These award winning works are narrative based and are derived from Fuller’s experiences with a range of communities, sites, and histories.

'Dreams of another place' presents the story of 'Little Star', a dog who dreamed of going into space as well as other materials relating to Fuller’s animation practice.

Little-star animation by Todd Fuller

Image: Todd Fuller, little star animation still 2, 2015
charcoal, chalk, ink and acrylic on paper 56 x 89cm

Download the Little Star activity sheet here(PDF, 458KB)