Currabubula Red Cross branch was registered on April 21, 1943. All our meetings, and our annual Art Show, are held in the Currabubula Hall which was built in 1912.
Over the years the branch fundraised through childrens’ frolics, dances, balls, garden parties, Melbourne Cup days, flower shows, tennis tournaments, fashion parades, fetes, street stalls, card parties, catering for sales and gathering waste textiles and used stamps.
The Tamworth Art Society had begun holding Art Exhibitions in the 1950’s but these came to an end. Key Art Society members Harry and Betty Frost came along to a Currabubula Red Cross meeting bringing knowledge and equipment – and under the guidance of President Winsome Busby and an inspired committee, the first Currabubula Red Cross Art Show was held in May 1964, attracting over 250 entries in five sections.
The Art Show grew from strength to strength with great support from artists, local media and also buyers of paintings as funds are raised through commission on sales. Catering has always been a highlight, with local cooks given the chance to shine.
A feature of the Currabubula Art Show has been in attracting respected judges and awarding significant prizemoney to artists. The Art Show is opened by an invited guest – ranging from Mayors and Local Members of Parliament to Archibald Prize winners and Art Gallery Directors.
Throughout the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s and today the Art Show continues to attract increasing numbers of paintings, with visitor numbers also growing every year. At different times pottery and china painting have been major attractions at the Shows. Over 2000 people attend each year. Currabubula Red Cross branch regularly raises more money than any other country branch and is usually in the top ten branches in NSW for fundraising.
When you come to the Art Show, take a moment to have a look at the walls of the Hall – every single surface is actually covered with ‘holey’ plasterboard (aka peg-board) so that the hooks to hang the paintings can be placed anywhere as needed – the walls are ready year round for the four days of the Art Show every May.
In 2015 the Currabubula Red Cross branch was honoured with a national Distinguished Team Award from Australian Red Cross. The citation reads:
Currabubula is a small village between Tamworth and Quirindi in the New England District of New South Wales. Our team consists of approximately 40 Branch Members who come from a 30 km radius of the village.
For four days each May the historic Currabubula War Memorial Hall is transformed into an art lovers’ paradise. The exhibition fills every available space with a wide variety of oil, acrylic, watercolour and miniature art works for sale from across the country. The planning for this event is year round and the hall is actually booked for 10 days to allow set up and packing up.
The Team Leader, the Branch President at the time, coordinates a proven structure of painting coordinators, section coordinators, publicity and hands on volunteers, including other Red Cross branches, who do everything from receiving and hanging paintings to cooking and catering for the thousands of visitors who attend. Without this close cooperation and team effort by members and volunteers it would not be possible to stage the event.
The continuing efforts of long serving members, some of whom have supported the art show for over 40 years, is a feature of the Art Show.
The reputation of the Australian Red Cross has been greatly enhanced by the efforts of the Currabubula Branch with the consistent and exceptional efforts to fund raise with a quality event which is renowned by artists and art lovers throughout Australia.
The Currabubula Red Cross Branch has achieved remarkable results for a small rural branch contributing over $500,000 to date and is looking towards the future in its continuing fund raising efforts. Recognition of the efforts of the exceptional teams over more than 50 years adds to the ongoing story of the Currabubula Red Cross Art Exhibition