McClelland Gallery’s History

Harry McClelland and his sister Annie May McClelland moved to Long Island, Frankston, with their mother Eleanor McClelland in 1912. By the 1920s, they had established themselves as the centre for a bohemian group of creative personalities drawn from all strata of Victoria’s social life including Sir Daryl Lindsay, Percy Leason and W. B. McInnes.

Harry, an artist and philanthropist, and his sister, a poet and entrepreneur, enjoyed a life full of aesthetic and philosophic pursuits, with Annie May (Nan) hosting the first children’s radio program on the ABC, along with fundraising for and driving Frankston Hospital’s first ambulance.

McClelland family house on Long Island, Frankston 1930s.

Portrait of Nan McClelland 1930s

The location of McClelland Gallery was originally known as ‘Studio Park’ and is the site of Harry’s painting studio. Annie May bequeathed this land and the holdings of her Estate to honour her brother’s memory by establishing the Harry McClelland Art Gallery and Cultural Hall. The gallery opened in 1971 and features the first bespoke modernist gallery designed by architects Munro and Sargent to be built in regional Victoria. It is known today as the McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery.

Harry’s studio is still to be found in the grounds of the McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery, which apart from the gallery complex, houses the community art groups of the McClelland Guild of Artists, Peninsula Woodturners Guild, Frankston Lapidary Club and the McClelland Spinners and Weavers Inc.

Today McClelland’s unique outdoor sculpture collection showcases over 100 works by prominent Australian sculptors such as Inge King, Lenton Parr, Clement Meadmore, George Baldessin, Robert Owen and Norma Redpath along with recent acquisitions including Rick Amor, Lisa Roet and Ken Unsworth. In addition, three indoor gallery spaces accommodate changing exhibitions and collection displays of works on paper, photography, painting and sculpture.