1954 proved to be a busy year for Geelong Gallery, with multiple exhibitions as well as significant additions made to the permanent collection, including Mt Hermannsburg, James Range by Western Arrernte painter Albert Namatjira. This was the first work by a First Nations artist acquired for the permanent collection, and depicts a grand mountain range at Ntaria, Alice Springs.
In October 1954, Geelong Gallery held an exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works, with various works being loaned from the personal collections of Geelong locals.
Janet Biddlecombe, a Geelong Gallery supporter and occupant of Shelford’s Golf Hill Homestead, died in this year, bequeathing Landscape by William McInnes as well as various items of antique furniture.
Part of these antiques was a square piano, now housed in the G M Hitchcock Gallery. This piece was purchased by James Morrison and Co, woolbrokers, of London in 1853, on behalf of George Russell, Janet’s father. Once it arrived in Geelong, it was then moved to Janet’s residence by Gibbs, Ronald and Co on a bullock drawn cart.