Museums & Galleries Qld

Queensland Maritime Museum Volunteer, Warwick Foote, wins 2012 Gallery and Museum Achievement Award

Posted on: 10 December 2012

This is our fifth and final article featuring stories on each of the Winners and Special Commendation recipients of the 2012 Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards (GAMAA) in five categories.

Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) proudly announced the recipients of the 2012 GAMAA at a special event hosted by the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, Caboolture, on Saturday 17 November. Guest presenter, Hon. Ros Bates, Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts congratulated this year’s recipients and presented the winners with a specially-commissioned trophy created by Queensland artist, Donna Marcus.

We announce the GAMAA Winner in the category, ‘Individuals: Volunteer’:

WINNER – Warwick Foote, Volunteer Curator, Queensland Maritime Museum

This category was generously sponsored by Museums Australia Queensland. The Winner receives a prize to the value of $1,000.


Hon. Ros Bates, Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts presents the 2012 GAMAA to Warwick Foote, Winner of the category Individuals: Volunteer

Hon. Ros Bates, Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts presents the 2012 GAMAA to Warwick Foote, Winner of the category Individuals: Volunteer

Warwick Foote was announced as the Winner in this category for his outstanding achievement as a Volunteer at the Queensland Maritime Museum (QMM). Warwick was a chief instigator in establishing the Museum in 1971 and has given 41 years’ service, 38 of those as honorary curator, until his retirement in May 2012.

The Museum’s first major acquisition was the historic steam tug Forceful in July 1971 and she served as the initial home for the Museum.  During that period the Museum became aware of the Government’s plans to close the South Brisbane Dry Dock and negotiations were initiated to establish the Museum’s home at that site. The government supported the proposal and in 1973 granted occupancy of the dry dock site to the Museum. During the next six years the Museum set about developing its collection, and Warwick played a central role in this task. He voluntarily assumed the role of honorary curator in 1974 and commenced preparing the Museum’s first exhibitions which opened to the public in 1979 in one of the original workshop buildings. An official opening by the Governor of Queensland, Sir James Ramsay, took place in 1981.

"Courier Mail" article on the official opening of the Queensland Maritime Museum by the Governor of Queensland at South Brisbane in 1981

“Courier Mail” article on the official opening of the Queensland Maritime Museum by the Governor of Queensland at South Brisbane in 1981

As a key member of the team at QMM, Warwick has been a driving force in the development of the Museum’s exhibitions, collections and policies. Starting with no formal background in museum practice but with a passion to preserve Queensland’s vanishing maritime heritage, Warwick has striven to raise his level of professionalism, undertaking scrupulous research and embracing change and technology to develop diverse and creative display techniques, often with limited resources.

Titanic exhibition at the Queensland Maritime Museum

Titanic exhibition at the Queensland Maritime Museum

Warwick has served the Museum through periods of major development, such as preparation of the dry dock to receive the internationally significant ex-navy frigate HMAS Diamantina. Expo 88 signalled a period of rapid growth of the collection and site, attracting over 1 million visitors to the Museum during the event and resulting in the subsequent decision to expand normal opening hours from weekends to 7 days a week. In 2002, an extension to the Museum provided a temporary exhibition gallery and facilitated the need for Warwick to increase rotation and change of exhibitions to maintain the Museum’s high standards of visitor experience.

In 2006, Warwick was awarded an OAM for his services to the museum sector.

As the Winner of the 2012 GAMAA in the category, Individuals: Volunteer, Warwick was recognised for his outstanding service to the Queensland Maritime Museum over an extensive period of time, not only through his extraordinary contribution as volunteer curator but also as Board member, duty manager, and currently as advisor. Warwick was commended for his ongoing commitment to best practice in increasing his knowledge and adding to his already significant skills to ensure high standards of exhibition curation, conservation and research, and for his instrumental role in a vast number of projects through many facets of change at QMM.

L–R: Warwick Foote, Margie Beaton and Max Ferguson at the dry dock, Queensland Maritime Museum

The 2012 GAMAA was presented by Museum and Gallery Services Queensland. This prestigious annual event is designed to celebrate the outstanding achievements, professional excellence and innovation of Queensland’s museums and galleries. The Awards recognise the valuable contribution our State’s museums and galleries make to enriching their local and wider communities, and honour the extraordinary commitment and talents of paid professionals and volunteers working in the industry.

For a full list of winners and photos of the event, and to see what the GAMAA Judges said, go to the M&GSQ website at

The 2012 GAMAA were proudly sponsored by the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, Brian Tucker Accountant, Brandi Projects, Archival Survival, Regional Galleries Association of Queensland and Museums Australia Queensland.


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Museums & Galleries Queensland

122 Gerler Rd, Hendra QLD 4011

Phone: 07 3059 9740

Museums & Galleries Queensland is the peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector in Queensland.

Museums & Galleries Queensland promotes, supports and provides services to foster excellence in museums, galleries and keeping places. We strive to ensure a future where museums, galleries and keeping places are relevant, accessible and valued by their communities.

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Rebekah Butler, Executive Director
Debra Beattie, General Manager
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Bonnie Melrose, Exhibition Program Officer
Andrea Higgins, Exhibition Program Officer

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