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.

Dame Peggy van Praagh, DBE
Dame Peggy van Praagh, DBE


Victorian Council for the Arts

Under the terms of the Ministry for the Arts Act 1972, the Minister could appoint up to 12 people to the Victorian Council of the Arts. The role of the Council was to advise the Minister and Director, provide specialist arts expertise and help gather information about the arts in Victoria, which at the time was scarce.


The inaugural Council members, appointed in 1973, were:

  • Leonard Reason, Chairman
  • Dr Donald Hossack, Deputy Chairman
  • Dame Joan Hammond, DBE CMG
  • Dame Peggy van Praagh, DBE
  • Kate Baillieu
  • Colin Bennett
  • John Hopkins, OBE
  • John Leslie
  • Peter Rankin
  • John Sumner, CBE
  • Marjorie Tipping

The Council had a deliberately low profile. Although it was directly or indirectly involved in the decision-making process affecting all arts initiatives requiring any measure of government funding, the Council was never involved in making announcements and rarely fielded public questions. It supplied its advice, together with that of the Director, and the Minister then made the final decision on behalf of the public.

In the mid-1990s, following a review of the Council's activities by then Premier and Minister for the Arts, Jeff Kennett, new appointments were made to further strengthen its advisory role. The Council was chaired by the Minister for the Arts and its membership included representatives of all arts portfolio agencies as well as representatives of major non-government arts organisations including the Melbourne Festival, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet, as well as the Victorian College of the Arts and the ABC.

In the early 2000s, Arts Minister Mary Delahunty added the appointment of an indigenous arts representative and the then chair of the Victorian Arts Industry Council.

Prior to the Council being chaired by the Minister for the Arts, chairs included Leonard Reason, Donald Hossack, Phillip Adams, Tony Doyle, Robert Miller, Dimity Reed and Jack O'Connell.

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