Get to know our people
There are currently six gallery board member volunteers that oversee the operations of the organisation, all of which bring an irreplaceable perspective, background, and expertise to the gallery.
Our current board members are:
Paul McKeon – Chair
As a long-term member of the Coffs Rotary Club, I became a board member of the National Cartoon Gallery in 2015 and become chair in 2016. My previous career was diverse, spanning from the fields of marketing, advertising, public relations, airlines, tourism, events management and publishing. I was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to work across the world during this time.
During my time as Chair, the Board has re-established the gallery as a popular cultural and tourist attraction; built the new 3 million dollar National Cartoon Gallery and developed plans for a 2 million dollar hi-tech permanent exhibition. My focus is now on turning these plans into reality.
I have had a long career working in media and have been an avid cartoonist for over 40 years. I have also spent much of my time writing on the history of Australia cartooning and documenting the industry.
I was Deputy Editor of The Bulletin in the late 1980s and Australian Business Monthly in the early 1990s. After that, I worked at The Australian for 15 years. In 1985 I helped establish the Stanley Awards for Australian cartooning and have twice been the president of the Australian Cartoonist’s Association. I have been a member of the Media and Entertainment Arts Alliance since the early 1960s and was on Federal Council for over 25 years and a board member of the NSW Journalist’s Benevolent Fund since 2005. I am also involved with the Australasian Humour Studies Network review panel.
I have been a Coffs Coast local much of my life and have been interested in cartooning since I was young, with my passion growing deeper since joining the board in 2014
I have been involved in community service clubs (Apex, Lions & Rotary) since 1988 and was employed in retail and commercial banking for 41 years, having gained a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Newcastle.
Being a part of the continuing evolvement and success of the Gallery is both challenging and rewarding.
I joined the board when the Council handed back management of the Bunker Cartoon Gallery. I could see great potential for City Hill, The Gallery was being established in the Bunker and this was a great start for the 'vision' of this precinct. In addition, I could see great potential for the Rotary Cartoon Awards as an ongoing tourist attraction for the Coffs region.
I have some 45 years plus experience in the finance industry in Sydney, Newcastle and Coffs Harbour in roles including branch management, senior administration, and commercial lending. I retired from the finance industry in 2012.
My family and I moved to Coffs Harbour in 1988 and I have been a member of the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour City since 1989.
As a 5th generation local and a passionate supporter of all things Coffs Harbour joining the board of the gallery was a great opportunity to give back to my town and to assist however possible with the growth of this tremendous community asset.
Our family business The Observatory Self Contained Apartments also has a strong commitment of giving back to the community and realising that the gallery is a major driver in our visitor economy we have been long term supporters of the gallery.I have had a long history of community involvement from APEX, RFS, Orara Valley Fair, CanDo Cancer Trust, P&C, industry bodies and various committees. To many, I am known as “the trainman” as each year I organise the Rainforest Rattler that brings joy to many thousands of people.
Many great things have already been achieved by past boards and I firmly believe there is still much to be done before the potential of this unique gallery is fully realised. I look forward to contributing towards its future growth and prosperity.
I grew up in Cape Town and immigrated to Sydney in 1992. I qualified as an accountant, owned a real estate agency in Surry Hills and own interesting properties in the local area. I am an avid art collector and publish Art Almanac and Artist Profile.
After doing my first radio show Art Almanac on Eastside Radio in Sydney last year I joined the board. It is a community radio station. I also helped the Art Space in Urunga when it started.
The sustainability and relevance of artists and art is important to me and I would like to help to make the National Cartoon Gallery a must see attraction.
Our current gallery staff:
Chris Durham - Gallery Manager
Chris Durham has been the Manager of the National Cartoon Gallery since May 2021. Prior to joining the Gallery Chris was the Deputy Director and Acting Director at the New England Regional Art Museum, Chris has over 35 years of administrative experience in a variety of work environments from the private to public sectors and not-for-profits including accounting, media and educational, museums and galleries, arts facilitation, and project management, operational and curational experience and senior management working with Board of Directors.
She has qualifications in Cultural Heritage, Museum Studies, Art History and Visual Arts. Chris has extensive knowledge of the arts & cultural sector and is recognised for a program of exhibitions and programs that are locally relevant, inclusive and engage with all audiences.
Hayley Ward - Assistant Manager
Hayley Ward joined the National Cartoon Gallery in June 2021 as Assistant Manager. Hayley has a background in the arts and museums sector. Previously Hayley was the Manager of the Armidale Folk Museum, as well as supported numerous public art programs and projects in the New England area.
Hayley has qualifications in Fine & Visual arts and has been involved in the creative arts industry for over 20 years. Her role at the Gallery involves Volunteer Coordination, Project Management, Marketing, Grant Applications, Exhibition Coordination.