House debates

Tuesday, 10 September 2019


South Australia: Arts

7:33 pm

Photo of Nicolle FlintNicolle Flint (Boothby, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Promoting and celebrating the Australian arts and Australian artists is one of my great personal passions. Australian books, music, art and film have been of lifelong interest to me and even led to an unexpected career as a newspaper columnist. As a newspaper columnist, before I was elected to this place, I would regularly write about our Australian musicians, filmmakers, authors and artists. Since being here, I've continued to work to highlight the importance of supporting all our artists to tell our stories, both within Australia and abroad.

Perhaps this is all part of being a proud South Australian. My home state has long been known as 'the' arts state in the nation, and I am incredibly proud to have secured several significant funding commitments that will further enhance our reputation. Through our $551 million Adelaide City Deal, the Morrison Liberal government will support the redevelopment of lot 14 on North Terrace, which will be home to the Australian Space Agency and cutting-edge technology, and also home to Australia's most significant Indigenous collection in the new National Aboriginal Art and Culture Gallery. I would like to recognise my colleague the Minister for Indigenous Australians, who alerted me to the national significance of the collection of Aboriginal art and cultural items held in South Australia, which, once on show, will be of national and international significance.

Through the city deal we'll also be providing $9 million to the Heysen Gallery near Hahndorf. This will mean that, finally, the work of Hans and Nora Heysen will have a dedicated space. This will sit on the same land as the Heysen family home and Hans Heysen's studio. This testament to two of our most significant Australian artists is long overdue. I was lucky to see the Hans and Nora Heysen exhibition recently at the NGA in Melbourne, and it was an excellent reminder as to the extraordinary talent of father and daughter. Nora, in particular, can only have been described as a child prodigy, as her early work shows. She was a trailblazing artist and became the first woman to win the Archibald Prize in 1938 and the first woman appointed an official Australian war artist.

The city deal also includes $3 million towards a new visitor centre at Carrick Hill in Urrbrae, in my electorate of Boothby. Carrick Hill is home to a magnificent historic house and gardens, as well as an internationally renowned art collection. Every time I visit another exhibition at Carrick Hill, I'm surprised by the extent of their art collection. Most recently, this was a showcase of their Australian art. I knew of Carrick Hill's British collection—most notably Stanley Spencer—and their French collection, but I did not realise the estate also included a range of significant Australian artists, such as Arthur Streeton, George Lambert, Ivor Hele, John Dowie, Lionel Lindsay, William Dobell, Russell Drysdale and Hans and Nora Heysen. The new visitor centre will allow Carrick Hill to expand its footprint and its tourist offering. It will become a new hub for the district, particularly for Urrbrae, the Waite, Mitcham and Brownhill Creek, linking with the Mitcham Hills Trail, which is also supported by the federal government, all of which will help attract more visitors to our region. Ultimately, this is all about celebrating our arts, artists and culture, from our very First Australians to our early European artists, and providing new exhibition spaces for current and emerging artists.

But, just as importantly, it's about providing year-round tourist offerings to national and international tourists, and year-round jobs for South Australians. When combined with the Art Gallery of South Australia, which to my mind is the best state art gallery in the nation, our National Aboriginal Art and Culture Gallery, the Heysen Gallery and Carrick Hill, we'll see South Australia become home to the most significant art gallery offering in the nation and all within 20 minutes of the Adelaide CBD. We will provide a new way for visitors—local, national and international—to understand what it is to be Australian, whether one of our First Australians or those of us who have settled here since. We will provide a way for people to understand our stories and our heritage—our people, our land and our landscape. Maybe it will help them to see these things for the first time or to see them anew.

Most importantly, we will provide jobs for South Australians and a new tourist offering that will once again see South Australia as 'the' arts state, not just during the festival season each year but all year long.