Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize

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Frederick George Waterhouse

The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, formerly the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, is a biennial competition for artists, with a science theme, organised by the South Australian Museum in Adelaide, South Australia.[1]


The prize was established in 2002 and named after Frederick George Waterhouse, who was the first curator of the Museum. He discovered 40 new species of fish along the SA coastline, collected plants, insects, reptiles, birds and mammals and was an avid naturalist.[2] The annual competition changed its name to "Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize" in 2013.[3] It offered a total prize pool of A$77,000 in that year.[4]

The competition was not held in 2015 due to a consultative review on the nature of the competition.[5] However, a retrospective exhibition, Magnified: 12 years of the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, exhibiting all winners thus far, took place at the National Archives of Australia (NAA) in Canberra.[6]

It was held again in 2016,[7] and has been held biennially since then.[8][9]


As of 2022 there are two categories of prize, which is open to artists of any age, nationality and experience:[10][9]

  • Open Prize, worth $30,000; and
  • Emerging Artist Prize, worth A$10,000.

There is an exhibition of the works at the museum, which also tours to the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra, hosted by the NAA,[11][12] and all of the exhibits are available for purchase.[13]


  • 2022 Kyoko Hashimoto and Guy Keulemans for Bioregional Rings (Central Coast)[9][14]
    • 2022 Emerging artist category: Deb McKay, for Fragile Forms[9][14]
  • 2020 Grayson Cooke and Emma Walker for Open Air (multimedia work)[15]
    • 2020 Emerging artist category: Rebecca McEwan, for 4000 Stories (sculptural installation)[16]
  • 2018: Erica Seccombe, for Metamorphosis (video work)[17]
    • 2018 Emerging artist category: Hayley Lander, for The great forgetting (painting)[17]
  • 2016: Julia deVille for Neapolitan Bonbonaparte[18]
  • 2014: Carole King for High Tide, Wynnum (painting)[19]
  • 2013: Judith Brown for Flight of Fancy (a cape made of leaves and bulb casings)[3]
  • 2012: Margaret Loy Pula for Anatye (Bush Potato) (painting)[20]
  • 2011: Julie Blyfield for Scintilla Series-Spiralling weed, Soft sponge, Sea urchin (silver objects)[21]
  • 2010: Nikki Main for Flood Stones (glass art)[6]
  • 2009: Matilda Mitchell for Fish (painting)[22][23]
  • 2008: Michael McWilliams for Bandicoot Playground (painting)[24]
  • 2005: Michael McWilliams for The Centre of Attention (painting)[6]
  • 2004: Chris Stubbs for Forgive Them Mother (clay sculpture)[6]
  • 2003: James King for Winter Foliage #12[25]


The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize receives sponsorship from public and private sectors. The prize is also supported by private donations.

In 2014, Gala launch principal sponsors were Beach Energy and the Government of South Australia. Exhibition prize sponsors were legal firm Fisher Jeffries, printer Finsbury Green and the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR). Private donations in support of the prizes (a total prize pool of A$114,500[26]) in 2014 included:[27][28]

  • The Helen Hill Smith OAM Prize for Sculpture and Objects, presented by Sam and Robert Hill Smith in memory of their mother;
  • The Dr Wendy Wickes Memoriam Prize, provided by "her life’s companion"; and
  • The Paintings Prize, presented in recognition of the Adelaide pasta company San Remo.

In 2018 the prize had federal government support through the Australia Council for the Arts and the National Archives of Australia; from the Government of South Australia via Arts South Australia; from the City of Adelaide; and from private sponsors the Hill Smith Gallery, Fisher Jeffries, The Adelaide Review, and printers Finsbury Green.[29]


  1. ^ "Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize". SA Museum (in Maltese). Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  2. ^ "General Prize Information". Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  3. ^ a b Ashley Walsh (19 July 2013). "SA artists shine in Waterhouse Prize". 891 ABC Adelaide. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  4. ^ Christopher Sanders (July 2013). "Science + Art". The Adelaide Review. Archived from the original on 12 March 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  5. ^ Art meets science at National Archives in Canberra ABC News, 27 Nov 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Colley, Clare (29 October 2015). "Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize returns to National Archives". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Waterhouse natural science art prize 2016". South Australian Museum. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  8. ^ "The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize". ASEF culture360. 22 October 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d Perfetto, Imma (3 June 2022). "Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize winners announced!". Cosmos. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Competition details". SA Museum. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  11. ^ "Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize". Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  12. ^ Samaras, Denholm (30 March 2021). "Strong Canberra contingent represented in 'Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize'". Canberra Weekly. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  13. ^ "The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize is the South Australian Museum's event of the year • Glam Adelaide". Glam Adelaide. 14 January 2021. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  14. ^ a b "Waterhouse Prize winners find beauty in foraged materials". InDaily. 3 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  15. ^ "2020 Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize creates a buzz". InDaily . 11 December 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  16. ^ "Art and science merge to win Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize". SA Museum. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  17. ^ a b Dexter, John (7 June 2018). "Gallery: Erica Seccombe wins Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize". The Adelaide Review. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  18. ^ Julia deVille wins Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize ABC News, 9 June 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  19. ^ Munn, Jacqui (24 July 2014). "Queensland artist Carole King wins Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize". ABC News. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  20. ^ Davis, Emma (25 July 2012). "Waterhouse art prize won by Aboriginal artist". Australian Geographic. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  21. ^ Lamb, Lizzie (28 January 2016). "South Australian Museum broadens the scope of the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize". ArtsHub Australia. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  22. ^ Walsh, Ashley (18 July 2009). "Fish Wins Waterhouse". ABC Local. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  23. ^ "Matilda Michell". akbellingergallery. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  24. ^ Annual report of the South Australian Museum board 2008-2009 (PDF). Adelaide, South Australia: South Australian Museum. 2009. p. 8. ISSN 0375-1619.
  25. ^ "James King". James King. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  26. ^ "Highly Commended Award ~ Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize 2014". Heidi Willis – The Earthen Artist. 28 July 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  27. ^ "Waterhouse Prize Sponsors and Supporters 2014". South Australian Museum. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  28. ^ "The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize 2014 [Full catalogue]". South Australian Museum. 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2021 – via Issuu.
  29. ^ "The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize 2018 [Full catalogue]". South Australian Museum. 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2021 – via Issuu.