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.

1970s

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 Aussie troops were withdrawn from Vietnam, and in 1975 our PM was controversially dismissed.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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Reg Mombassa of Mental As Anything painting a tram as part of the Victorian Ministry for the Arts' Transporting Art program, 1981
Reg Mombassa of Mental As Anything painting a tram as part of the Victorian Ministry for the Arts' Transporting Art program, 1981

1981

Mental As Anything paint a tram!

The Ministry for the Arts' Transporting Art program continued throughout the 1980s. A further 20 trams were painted by artists including Australian music legends, Mental As Anything. Other participating artists this decade were Merrin Eirth, Kim Donaldson and Elizabeth Gower. In 1986, Victorian school children were invited to join in and design a tram to commemorate the International Year of Peace.

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