TALENTED: Geoff Hannah with Minister For The Arts Mitch Fifield, Jenny Dowell, Kevin Hogan, Thomas George and Brett Adlington at the opening and unveiling of his work at Lismore Regional Gallery.
TALENTED: Geoff Hannah with Minister For The Arts Mitch Fifield, Jenny Dowell, Kevin Hogan, Thomas George and Brett Adlington at the opening and unveiling of his work at Lismore Regional Gallery. Sophie Moeller

Bring Geoff's famous cabinet back to Lismore

MAYOR Jenny Dowell has revealed it is her intention for Lismore to have one of Geoff Hannah's most famous cabinets returned as the centrepiece of the city's new Regional Gallery.

Cr Dowell made the announcement in front of Arts Minister Mitch Fifield and guests at the opening of Geoff Hannah's Exhibition In Glue and Dust We Trust on Friday night before the unveiling of his latest masterpiece, The Chinoiserie.

Cr Dowell described Mr Hannah as a "world class master craftsman and we are so lucky to have you as a son of Lismore”.

She said "if we dream big we can achieve what we want” in having The Hannah Cabinet back where it belongs in our city.

The Hannah Cabinet, which is valued at $1.5 million, took 5000 hours to complete, is made up of 34 fine timbers and 17 types of stone - including a secret compartment made of woven material from Marie Antionette's bed - and is currently a major tourist draw card for The Bungendore Wood Works Gallery in Southern New South Wales.

Senator Fifield also addressed the gathering outside the gallery, saying he was "in awe” of Mr Hannah's work and was honoured to have been invited to open the exhibition.

He said it showed "art and culture were not just the preserve of the big cities” and " Lismore was an "alive and vibrant epicentre of the arts in the region”.

Mr Hannah who began as an apprentice at 15, later won a Churchill Scholarship, which took him to the workshops of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Palace of Versailles, France. His Australiana Cabinet sold to a Belgian private collector for $500,000 and his Yarralumla Cabinet in Government House, Sydney, has attracted more than 90,000 school children through its doors.

Addressing Mr Hannah's students who are exhibiting alongside The Chinoiserie, Senator Fifield said: "It was not just the wood that had been shaped by Geoff, but you too.”

Mr Hannah then told his students: "You are going to make a lot of people feel happy, they are going to feel inspired by what they see. I am proud of what you have done. You done a good job.

"And thank you Jenny Dowell for all you done as Mayor ... thank you very much mate.”

In an emotional address, gallery director Brett Addlington also thanked Jenny Dowell, describing their long journey in securing funding for the new gallery, which received council approval last week.

The Chinoiserie Cabinet took 2000 hours to to make, incorporates a Chinese bird and floral motifs, was crafted from 16 different types of wood, many pieces of stone including opaline and rhyolite and 23 carat gold. It will be on display at The Regional Gallery until September 24.

Copies of a new book Geoffrey Hannah: Never a Less Likely Bloke: From Relinquished Child to Renaissance Man, written by Meg Heggen, will be available at the gallery from Saturday September 3.

On Father's Day, September 4, he will also be talking at the gallery from 11am-12.30pm.