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 Aussie troops were withdrawn from Vietnam, and in 1975 our PM was controversially dismissed.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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Australian Ballet Centre, 1988
Australian Ballet Centre, 1988


New home for The Australian Ballet

The six-level Australian Ballet Centre in Southbank, the purpose-built home for The Australian Ballet, was opened on 18 February 1988 by the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke and the Victorian Premier John Cain.


Funded by the Commonwealth/State Bicentennial Program, the Ministry for the Arts, and the Australian Ballet Foundation, and with a loan from the Victorian Government, it included studios, dressing rooms, a library and classrooms, medical facilities, a gym, wardrobe and production workshops, and administrative offices.

Level 6 of the centre became the new home for the Ministry of the Arts, and Arts Victoria is still located there today.

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