It all began when James Nash discovered gold in a creek subsidiary of the Mary River in 1867 and Gympie grew into a small prosperous town during the gold rush. This event is celebrated every year over a 10 day period during October at what is now called the Gold Rush Festival.
The Gold Rush Art Competition was begun by the Cooloola Art Society Incorporated in 1973 as an art competition for their members and artists in the local area with sections mainly for painting, drawing and works on paper. It was decided to coincide the competition with the Gold Rush Festival, hence the name.
The Open Award for a painting with any subject or any medium attracts a $3000 cash prize sponsored by the Gympie Regional Council and the Friends of the Gympie Regional Gallery. The Great Art Debate is a highlight event, held during the second week of the exhibition, within the gallery space surrounded by all the artwork. This very funny, light-hearted debate always attracts a great crowd with this year’s topic being “Art is for Everyone”.