In 1943, Geelong Gallery decided to postpone events such as the annual art competitions until after World War II.
To support the war effort, Geelong artist Lois Hyett held an exhibition and sale of her watercolours in the Douglass Gallery, with the proceeds donated to the Prisoners of War Fund. This was a significant event in Geelong Gallery's history, as this was the first exhibition by a Geelong artist held in the space.
Although Geelong Gallery did not acquire any of Lois’ works, they did acquire another work of local significance in the same year: Geelong from Mr Hiatt's, Barrabool Hills by William Duke. This important example of colonial landscape painting depicts the town of Geelong and Corio Bay from the Barrabool Hills, showing a tall unidentified landmark in the distance and the Barwon River on the right. Two First Nations People stand in the foreground, as if surveying the changes brought to bear on the land.