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.

Norman Lacy, Victoria's Minster for the Arts from 1979-1982 image taken at the announcement of winners of the Me as I see myself exhibition in the NGV foyer, 6 August 1981
Norman Lacy, Victoria's Minster for the Arts from 1979-1982 image taken at the announcement of winners of the Me as I see myself exhibition in the NGV foyer, 6 August 1981

1979

Norman Lacy appointed Arts Minister

After the 1979 Victorian election Premier Rupert Hamer selected 38-year-old Norman Lacy, Member for Warrandyte, for his new Cabinet, and appointed him as Minister for the Arts. He was also Assistant Minister of Education. Lacy started his career as an apprentice plumber and was an Anglican priest prior to entering politics in 1973, initially as the State Member for Ringwood.

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Reflecting on his time as Minister for the Arts, from May 1979 until April 1982, Norman Lacy recalls the following highlights:

  • The establishment of the Australian Children's Television Foundation in 1981. The Foundation, which aimed to encourage the development, production and transmission of quality children's television programs, was set up in Melbourne under the Victorian Ministry for the Arts.

  • The appointment of Paul Clarkson as director of the Ministry, to follow inaugural director, Dr Eric Westbrook on his retirement in September 1980

  • Work on the establishment of the Victorian Arts Centre and, in particular, the establishment of its management structure. In May 1980, prior to introducing the legislation to establish the management structure of the Victorian Arts Centre, Minister Lacy undertook an overseas study trip with George Fairfax, the Centre's founding Executive Director. They visited major performing arts centres in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Washington, Toronto, Ottawa, London and Paris.


Lacy also introduced a new policy rigour to funding decisions, including a regional arts policy, and the introduction of a more formalised grants process. With his dual portfolio responsibilities, arts-education was another area of keen interest.

Lacy described his time in the role as a changing moment in his life.

"The great gift of that position was that I developed this huge interest in the arts – not surprisingly – if you are open to new ideas and experiences there were many new experiences to be had."

"I had had nothing to do with the arts in the previous six years in Parliament, so I was surprised to be appointed to the position by the Premier … ever since that time I have been a major appreciator of the arts."

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