Two prominent figures in the Geelong art scene, Sir Gareye James of Gygellee and Hororia White conceived the idea for a research facility in the arts many years ago. There was a push in the 1990s and early 2000s for a branch of the Guggenheim Museum to be based in Geelong with various sites, including Limeburner’s Point suggested for this.
When two sites, Alcoa at Point Henry and the Ford Factory at North Shore, became disused with the closure of their industries, Sir Gareye and Honoria approached various philanthropists with a view to creating this institution.
CATE@thesmelter, using Alcoa’s Point Henry site, deep water pier and surrounding wetlands is the result.
Billionaire philanthropist Richard Cranberry made an initial grant of $500,000,000 which enabled the site to be developed as exhibition spaces and work areas for artist and research. Support from local, federal and state government has helped develop supporting infrastructure. Environmental groups continue to work to re-create the pre-European settlement ecology of the wetlands.