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Byron Shire
January 18, 2022

Gallery launches campaign to keep Hannah Cabinet in Lismore

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Frontline health workers supported

It started, in classic Byron style, with a batch of bliss balls. The homemade treats were whipped up for the nurses at Byron Hospital by local, Sarah Armstrong, after she heard how challenging life had been for them during the Omicron outbreak.

Lismore Regional Gallery launched a fundraising campaign at its grand opening on Saturday night to purchase The Hannah Cabinet for the gallery’s permanent collection.

The Hannah Cabinet, which is currently on show at gallery, was created by master craftsman Geoff Hannah, whose worldwide acclaim belies the fact he works from a small workshop in the suburban back streets of Lismore.

Geoff is one of the finest cabinet-makers in the world and The Hannah Cabinet, first exhibited in Lismore in 2009, is still one of the most popular exhibitions in the gallery’s history.

The wooden masterpiece stands 2.4 metres high and is estimated to be worth more than $1 million. It was the result of 5000 hours of labour over a six-year period, and contains 34 Australian and international timbers and veneers, 17 types of stone, four species of shell, and 17 varieties of precious stone with extensive marquetry inlays. It has 18 doors and 140 drawers.

The Hannah cabinet took six years to build. Photo: Clayton Lloyd
The Hannah cabinet took six years to build. Photo: Clayton Lloyd

Lismore Regional Gallery Director Brett Adlington said it would be a coup for Lismore’s permanent collection to house the cabinet and believes its rightful place is in the city Geoff calls home.

“A steering committee has been established to raise the funds – it may take some time, but we believe this would be an amazing acquisition and addition to a permanent collection that already holds more than 1000 pieces of fine art,” Brett said.

“We will look outside the region and to generous donors as well as explore what grant funding we could apply for in order to raise the funds. It would be so appropriate to have The Hannah Cabinet in our permanent collection and it would also be a major drawcard to attract visitors.

“Geoff is so generous with his time, and so humble about his work, yet he is a true craftsman of the most extraordinary talent. We should celebrate that we have this renowned global artist in our midst and make a place for The Hannah Cabinet to be permanently on show in his hometown.

“It would an absolute claim to fame for our city.”

People interested in being involved in the campaign should phone the gallery on 6622 2209 or email [email protected]

Local filmmakers capture Geoff’s secrets

To celebrate the opening of the new Lismore Regional Gallery and the Hannah Cabinet coming home to its place of birth, local award winning filmmakers Cloudcatcher Media have released for free online view, a film they made about this man who turns wood into fine art…

Secrets & Sawdust was made over a five month period in 2016 and follows master craftsman Geoff Hannah and some of his students as they prepare for a gallery exhibition of fine furniture. An exploration of the love, obsession and secrets behind wood art with the ability to make people laugh and cry.

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  1. He wood, woodn’t he? Geoff Hannah chipped in here and chipped in there and he came up with a cabinet more for the board room that the kitchen that is from his heart, the Lismore Regional Gallery’s grand opening on Saturday. His art is meticulous with a tap tap here with all the gloss and doors and the art surgery is done for the gallery’s permanent collection. The crowd were all pumped.

  2. I have always beleived that the cabinet should stay in Lismore. I hope the fund raising is a success and will be happy to donate.

  3. I just started watching the video… Dove-tails…wow, when I was studying interior design in Berlin in 1967/68 we had a Meister carpenter who was teaching us how to do dove-tails!!!!. A true master like Geoff. There is a consciousness that comes with mastery and I am sure the lucky students and apprentices are being blessed with it. wow again!

  4. This is an Iconic piece of furniture, anyway you look at it …
    Geoff has other artifacts around the world ,all of which are highly prized …
    However I believe that the Hannah Cabinet is his signature piece …
    In my opinion , the million dollar target to keep the Hannah Cabinet in Lismore is quite achieveable. …
    I believe that over $100,000 has already been raised …
    This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I will be making my donation soon …
    I would encourage everyone to support this campaign in whatever way they can …

  5. I am quite happy to donate to this. I don’t have much available cash but will willingly contribute money to this endeavour.


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