John Gollings and Great Keppel Island
A Rockhampton Art Gallery exhibition
2 May – 29 June 2014
Rockhampton Gallery Press Release
“Great Keppel Island: It’s a great place to get wrecked” was the catchphrase of one of the most successful tourism and advertising campaigns of the 1980s. The Get Wrecked campaign presented a hedonistic utopia set on Great Keppel Island at the southern gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The Resort was aimed at twenty-something’s keen for a suntan and a bit of saucy fun.
The photographer for the campaign was John Gollings, one of Australia’s most significant photographers. Although renowned for his architectural photographs, Gollings began work as a freelance advertising photographer specialising in fashion, including accounts with Sportsgirl and Jag. His work gradually broadened into large-scale location work and travel accounts.
Originally conceived as advertising, today the Get Wrecked photographs capture Australia’s cheeky “adults-only” beach culture of the early 1980s. They also show the development of our region as a tourist destination. In 2013, Gollings donated photographs and related ephemera from the Get Wrecked campaign to Rockhampton Art Gallery, and this is the first time the collection has been on public display.