Learn about us and our history

Bunker exterior

The National Cartoon Gallery is housed in a unique building, a combination of an original underground World War II bunker converted into an exhibition space together with a second upstairs gallery, completed in 2021 with funding from the NSW Government.  This now well-known and iconic building, replicating a post WWII Nissen Hut design, to align with the design of the bunker below, is about to reopen with a whole new offering to visitors.

Downstairs in the Bunker gallery you will find regularly changing cartoon exhibitions curated from the Gallery’s collection. With a history of playing a role in communications in war time the gallery continues to provide a communications role, through the genius and humour of generations of cartoonists.

The upstairs gallery now hosts the National Holden Motor Museum, a significant collection of Holden Motor Cars some dating back to the very early days in the 1950s to a range throughout the decades till the recent demise of Holden car production.  The museum display includes a broad range of Holden memorabilia from over the years, a haven for Holden and indeed all motor vehicle enthusiasts.  This has been made possible by the generous support and donations from a number of local businesses.

Today the original bunker is the custodian of the Bunker Cartoon Collection with over 23,000 cartoons from leading Australian and international cartoonists including private donations and bequeaths of rare artworks.   Visitors may now also view the outside of the original underground bunker through a large window display, adding to the attraction of your visit.

Whilst passing through, or visiting Coffs Harbour, this venue offers a wonderful couple of hours of entertainment and is a must see for young and old.  Staffed by knowledgeable volunteers who can offer more insight into the history of this unique venue, with its' WWII beginnings, cartooning through the years and Holden Motor Vehicle collections taking you on a journey of the past 75 years of Australian history.  We guarantee you will not be disappointed with your visit.

Through generosity and dedication from our community, the new gallery space is currently being transformed into the National Holden Car Museum. Keep an eye on our socials and the website for regular updates as we get closer to completing this fantastic project.

In 2022 the bunker was expanded to include an upstairs gallery which was designed to look like a World War 2 Nissen Hut. This space is now being upgraded to house the National Holden Motor Museum which is scheduled to open in August 2024

The Bunker operates as a not for profit registered charity with charitable gift recipient status.

The Gallery has also been the recipient of many awards, including the distinguished Stanley Award presented by the Australian Cartoonists Association (ACA) for outstanding contribution to cartooning and the North Coast NSW Tourism Awards for Heritage and Culture.

If you would like to learn more about the history of the space, please do so here.