About the National Cartoon Gallery
The National Cartoon Gallery is Australia’s only dedicated cartoon gallery exhibiting the largest private collection of contemporary cartoons in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Gallery is housed in an authentic underground WWII bunker that has been converted to a funky exhibition space.
This metamorphosis from a bunker to a gallery, is largely thanks to the Coffs City Rotary Club and in particular, two drivers of the project, Tom Hamilton-Foster and the late John Champion. Their work in acquiring sponsorships and local business funding enabled the restoration of the building to proceed. Their caricatures are proudly displayed in the Gallery’s foyer.
Today, the Gallery is custodian of the Coffs Cartoon Collection, with well over 23,000 cartoons from leading Australian and international cartoonists including private donations and bequeaths of rare works. Its role, although different to its wartime past, is still one of communicator and protector of Australia’s history, albeit in satirical form.
The Bunker Cartoon Gallery Inc. continues to run the National Cartoon Gallery today. It is a not-for-profit, registered charity with charitable gift recipient status granted by the Taxation office.
The Gallery has been the recipient of many awards, including the distinguished Stanley Award presented by the Australian Cartoonists Association (ACA) for outstanding contribution to cartooning and North Coast NSW Tourism Awards for Heritage and Culture. The Gallery boasts a great team of volunteers who play an important part in the daily running of the Gallery and ensuring its future.
1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales (off Hogbin Drive at Racecourse Roundabout)
7 days, 10 am to 4 pm (except Christmas Day & Good Friday)
Children under 16 $3
Children under 5 Free
Friends of the Gallery Free
General admission includes viewing the Gallery’s collection, Children's activity
area, and most exhibitions.
Toilets. Picnic area.Wheelchair accessible.
Plenty of (free) on-site parking. Bus/coach friendly.
We welcome school groups, social groups, tour operators, and special needs groups, simply phone to book.
Morning and afternoon tea available for a small extra charge. Let us know if you would like a guided tour of the gallery’s history and exhibition.
Contact us for more information or to make a booking.
or call 02 6651 7343
Timeline: 1943 to Today
Built during the second world war, the underground bunker was the Base Operations Unit No.12. It housed the RAAF’s communication equipment, necessary to help protect the nation.
First Rotary Cartoon Awards competition run by Coffs City Rotary Club
Refurbishment of Building Commenced
It officially opened on 24 August by the then Minister for Communication and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston
Commenced operations on 1 July by the Bunker Cartoon Gallery Inc. (BCGI) under license from Coffs Harbour City Council.
Want more about the history of the Gallery?
You can download this Factsheet: Bunker and Gallery beginning (PDF)
Make your next private event a little out of the ordinary
The National Cartoon Gallery is available for hire and ensures your presentation, corporate function or private event is memorable.
The venue is close to town but removed enough to not cause issues with neighbours. It is air-conditioned and extremely well sound-proofed (hey, it’s underground!).
We can offer bar, staff, and catering, or leave it up to you. Special packages that coordinate our cartoon collection with your event can be arranged.
We love to host corporate functions, birthday parties, film nights, musical acts and even weddings.
Send us a message or call 02 6651 7343 to discuss your future event.
On the Road: Cartoons for Hire
Yes, you can book an exhibition for your venue (hotels, motels, schools, corporate offices, council chambers, galleries, etc).
Our cartoons, fully framed and ready to hang, love to travel.
To find out more, send us a message or call (02) 6651 7343.
Become a Friend of the Gallery and enjoy many benefits
We love visitors at the Gallery and we know when you have a membership at an attraction you'll be more likely to visit often and bring friends and relatives when you're looking to show them some of what Coffs Harbour has to offer.
We offer one-, three- and five-year Friend of the Gallery for $10, $30 and $50 respectively.
Friendship benefits include:
- Free entry to general exhibitions
- 25% discount to any 'blockbuster' exhibitions
- 10% discount on special ticketed events, concerts and workshops
- 10% discount on Gallery shop purchases*
- Invitations to Opening Nights
- “Underground” newsletter via email
(*excludes already discounted items, exhibited artwork sales, food, and drink)
Your membership becomes available immediately, so that first visit is free too!
Bring your card whenever you visit and make the most of being a Friend.
Our exhibitions change regularly so with at least six new shows each year, you can return many times and see them all.
Joining is easy
When you next visit the Gallery, ask our friendly volunteers how to join or join instantly by clicking on the button below.
Benefactors & Sponsorship opportunities
We welcome all donations and particularly value sponsors and benefactors to help us keep this wonderful Gallery going and to grow it for the future.
As a registered charity with charitable gift recipient status granted by the Taxation office, all donations are fully tax deductible.
We are sponsored by a number of generous organisations in various ways. We are always keen to know of companies that would like to assist us with our sponsorships which often take the form of ín-kind.
If you want to sponsor us in any way, please contact us for more information.
Please call us at 6651 7343 and we will be happy to provide you with additional information.