Arts Flashback

To celebrate Arts Victoria's 40th anniversary we've hit the archives
and uncovered some choice moments in the development of
Victoria's arts sector.

Click on the images below to view the stories and photo galleries, share them with others, and find out how Victoria grew to be the arts and cultural powerhouse it is today.


Bell-bottoms, handlebar moustaches, platform shoes, our daring approach to fashion (and facial hair) belied an era of serious social change and political drama in 1970s Australia.

We scrapped the White Australia Policy and welcomed an era of multiculturalism. Aussie troops were withdrawn from Vietnam, and in 1975 our PM was controversially dismissed.

We had more leisure time that ever before. Norm coaxed us off the couch with Life. Be in it and we got fit. But when we weren't out BMXing, ten-pin bowling or roller-skating, we were listening to Skyhooks and Sherbet, tuning into the new world of FM radio, and watching Number 96 on our brand new colour TVs.

Here in Victoria, a creative community of artists, craftspeople, theatre-makers and musicians were laying the foundation of the mighty independent arts sector we enjoy today.

Premier Rupert Hamer put the arts firmly on the Government's agenda with the creation of Australia's first state Ministry for the Arts. Its first priorities? Getting the construction of Southbank's Arts Centre complex moving, creating a chain of regional performing arts centres, and bringing art out into the public.

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NETS Victoria exhibition. Image courtesy of NETS Victoria
NETS Victoria exhibition. Image courtesy of NETS Victoria


NETS Victoria established

National Exhibitions Touring Support (NETS) Victoria was established in 1985 to increase the opportunities for regional Victorians to experience the best contemporary Australian art, craft and design. It was part of a national network of visual arts touring organisations, and initially operated under the auspices of the Victorian Ministry for the Arts.


In its first five years, NETS Victoria worked with an established network of Victorian regional galleries to coordinate the planning of their exhibitions programs, brokered tours, developed travel itineraries and provided expertise and guidance to regional gallery staff. It also provided Exhibition Development grants.

In the 1990s NETS Victoria took a more proactive role in the creation and promotion of touring contemporary art exhibitions, expanding the number and scale of its tours. Audience engagement also became a key focus, with a significant increase in education programs and other materials to support exhibitions.

Since then NETS Victoria has toured 70 exhibitions to 370 destinations and engaged more than two million people in contemporary visual culture experience. It continues to support Victoria's regional galleries in presenting touring exhibitions.

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