What we do

Canberra Centre & Floriade public art commission by Hannah Gason with Canberra Glassworks 2023. Photo by Ben Calvert.

Canberra Glassworks is an ACT Arts Centre. It opened in 2007 in the heritage-listed Kingston Powerhouse.

The building contains state of the art workshops for all forms of creating studio glass, a gallery that presents an annual program of curated exhibitions of work by Australia’s finest glass artists, and a retail shop with an extensive range of beautiful handmade glass objects.

Visitors can access a public viewing platform to watch artists at work in the Hotshop, Cold Shop, kiln forming and flame working studios or book into a class to learn how to make their own piece of glass art, take a guided tour or undertake group activities. The Glassworks participates in other ACT festivals and events such as the Heritage Festival and Science Week with a range of complementary special events and demonstrations.

Canberra Glassworks Engine Room
Canberra Glassworks Engine Room 2021

Glass artists come from all over the country, joining the resident studio artists to create their work in the well- equipped facility.

Canberra Glassworks runs an annual program of artists’ residencies for artists to experiment, research and create new work.  It can undertake a broad range of special commissions for artists, government bodies and businesses to create special orders including trophies, exhibition work and public art works as well as producing a range of bespoke wholesale products.

Kingston Power House

The Power House and its neighbouring building, the Fitters’ Workshop, were designed by architect John Smith Murdoch who also designed Old Parliament House and several other early Canberra buildings. Completed in 1915, the Kingston Power House was a coal fired electricity station built to generate electricity for the new city of Canberra. It is Canberra’s oldest permanent public building and has an ACT and National Heritage listing.

Its location created problems for Walter Burley Griffin as it interfered with his original plans for a grand axis within the city. Despite his objections, building began in 1912 on the present site. This positioning was ideal for generating electricity by producing steam with water from the nearby Molongolo River to drive the Power House turbines. The other key aspect of this positioning was the proximity to the southern railway line which delivered coal to a point below the ash hopper.

A hydroelectric power station became the main provider of power for Canberra in the late 1920s but the Kingston Power House continued to be used throughout the 1930s on an intermittent basis. During World War II it provided power to the naval transmission stations operating in the ACT. After the war the Power House still operated occasionally but it was decommissioned in 1957. After considerable consultation, the building was converted in 2007 into Canberra Glassworks, the only cultural centre that is wholly dedicated to contemporary glass art.

Keen to learn more about our history?

Join our free Heritage Tour running most Saturdays at 11am

Kingston Powerhouse Engine Room