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saturday 3 to Friday 30 August 2019

artist applications are now open - apply here



Sculpture in the Gaol is a public art exhibition in a location like no other.

Hosted by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service at the historic Trial Bay Gaol in South West Rocks, the exhibition features around 100 works by professional and hobbyist sculptors from all over NSW and beyond.


The Gaol first opened in 1886, after 13 years of construction by convict laborers. During World War I, the building became an internment camp, in which detainees of German descent filled their time with impressive flourishes of creativity through art and performance. This experience continues to influence artists to this day, while the statuesque stone building provides an impressive backdrop for the artworks.

The gaol is situated in the natural coastal surroundings of Arakoon National Park and inspires numerous environmentally-themed group installations by local school students. Sculptures appear throughout the township of South West Rocks in early July, as the Escapee Trail brings the playful nature of art to businesses for everyone to enjoy.




VIP FUNDRAISER NIGHT - 5.30pm, Saturday 3rd august

An evening of art and entertainment at the Gaol, including the announcement of the Sculpture in the Gaol Judge’s Art Prize. Join in this intimate soirée to raise funds for the 2019 artist programme and prize pool. Only 100 tickets available. (Event sponsors receive complementary invites.)


FAMILY GALA DAY - sunday 4th august, 9am - 4.30pm

The ever popular gala opening of Sculpture in the Gaol. Participate in a family-oriented celebration of public art, complete with live music, cultural activities, local freshly cooked food and craft stalls. Normal Gaol entry fees are waived in lieu of a $5 donation per adult, children free.


escapee trail - JuLY thru’ august

The sculptures have escaped the Gaol! Apparently they are hiding out in businesses around South West Rocks, although we hear some have traversed the Macleay Valley, seeking refuge in Gladstone, Crescent Head and Kempsey. Can you track them all down? A prize will be drawn for a completed Escapee Trail Card at our awards ceremony.


exhibition - Saturday 3rd to friday 30th august

The stark, chiselled stonework of the iconic Gaol creates an impressive backdrop for sculpture. Enjoy the sculptures and learn about the Gaol’s fascinating contributions to local history. Open daily from 9am to 4.30pm, Trail Bay Gaol entry fees apply, except on Family Gala Day.


workshops and artist talks

A series of artist workshops and talks are planned for the exhibition. Details will be revealed closer to the opening weekend.


awards ceremony - 11am, Saturday 31st august

Hosted by Sea Breeze Beach Hotel in South West Rocks. Come salute the prize-winning artists, then stay in town for lunch as ‘Eat Street’ hits South West Rocks, with sculptures placed in amongst the food trucks.