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Art Exhibition at The Tanks

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

'Year of the Ox' painting by Luisa Manea is at the Tanks Art Centre, Cairns.

Why did I call her 'Year of the Ox'? It's a new year, and this year of all years, we need new beginnings.

And what better way to celebrate as an artist but to have one of my prized paintings in a fantastic art gallery.

'The Tanks' are in the Botanic gardens in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

There are 5 Tanks in total, three of them restored and in use today. One knocked down for a carpark.

They were all going to be knocked down, but the local council saved the day by buying the tanks and land for 150k in 1991 and turned three into spaces for the general public to enjoy.

Tank 4 is an Art Gallery; it's made out of hand made reinforced concrete (as are all the tanks).

The five 4200 ton crude oil and diesel tanks were built in 1942; Cairns was a military base for Australian and Allied forces during WW II.

Built along the side of a mountain covered in a rain forest, they were hidden from the enemy planes flying overhead. They were connected to the naval docks in Portsmith 5 km away via three underground pipelines.

During the refurbishment of the Tanks, algae had to be added to each tank for three years to eat away the leftover fuel. The smell of fuel lasted another 3 to 6 years. The walls were going to be high pressure washed, but the curator at the time insisted the staining on the wall remain (a wise decision, in my opinion).

The plan has been to aircon Tank 4, but not sure how that is going to plan out after covid and if it will be put on the back burner due to costs.

T5 is for performing arts and has a bar and aircon.

T3 is a multi-purpose space.

Some interesting facts:

-Marlon Brando threw a party at T4 after the filming of 'The Island of Dr Moreau'.

The pathways were later added to the space, and local staff had to haul expensive sound equipment through thick, slimy mud (during the wet) to set up T5 for touring bands.

Today Tank 4 is one of the most beautiful and unique art galleries I have ever been in. To think they almost all got knocked down would have been a crying shame.

Thank goodness for people with the foresight to see the value of preserving history.


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