Records 1981

Arts and culture

This page has Cabinet decision highlights for arts and culture in 1981. 

Performing arts centre - Darwin

In 1979 to 1980, the Territory Government funded the Darwin City Council to commission a feasibility study and planning brief for a performing arts centre and convention centre in Darwin. 

The study confirmed a need for these facilities and recommended their construction at an estimated cost of approximately $7.5 million.

Around the same time, the Northern Territory Development Corporation (NTDC) commissioned a study on the feasibility of an international hotel in Darwin. Subsequent to these studies, and after an international promotional mission, the NTDC proposed the development of a hotel, convention centre and theatre as a joint venture between the Government, the Darwin City Council and a private developer, Burgundy Royale Investments Pty Ltd.

Cabinet endorsed this proposal, and approved a heads of agreement with Burgundy Royale Investments Pty Ltd and a memorandum of understanding with the Corporation of the City of Darwin for the joint development of a performing arts centre and international hotel in Darwin.

Features of the development included a 1,000 seat theatre, convention centre to seat 1,200 in lecture sessions or 600 at banquet functions, meeting rooms, a 200 room international hotel and car park for 300 cars. 

The plan needed the company to buy three lots of land, while the Territory Government and the Darwin City Council would make available four lots of land and close McLachlan Street between Mitchell Street and the Esplanade to accommodate the project. 

Financing involved a contribution by the company of $2.17 million with the Territory Government providing $4.34 million. 

It was agreed the Government would also provide $250 000 for technical consultancy and facilities management services. 

Cabinet agreed that the Territory Government would meet cost over runs to a maximum of $0.83 million, with any additional over runs to be met by the developer.

Read the Cabinet decision - submission number 1433 and decision number 1686 of 6 May 1981 PDF (2.8 MB).

Araluen Centre

In September 1979, Cabinet approved the construction of the Araluen Cultural Centre in Alice Springs, to be funded by way of a grant to the Araluen Trust. The Trust commissioned a feasibility study and planning brief for the centre, and later a design report providing for a theatre, rehearsal/meeting room, dressing rooms, a food and liquor facility, exhibition gallery, art gallery, outdoor sculpture area, art/craft studios and offices.

The Centre would be among the best in Australia for a city of comparable size. The submission warned the facility might be seen as being over-elaborate for the size of the Alice Springs population, but it was agreed that the Centre would serve the needs of tourists as well as residents and the plans took into account the needs expressed by the local arts community.

Cabinet agreed to the proposed design and funding of $4.77 million to construct the Centre over three years to 1983/1984, which would coincide with the 50th anniversary of Alice Springs.

Read the Cabinet decision - submission number 1690 and decision number 2001 of 29 October 1981 PDF (2.5 MB).

Northern Territory Heritage Program

National estate matters transferred to the Northern Territory on 1 July 1978 and a formal agreement between the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments was signed by the Minister for Community Development on 2 May 1980 for the administration of the Northern Territory National Estate Program.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Territory Government took primary responsibility for the establishment of priorities and the development of projects within the guidelines set by the Commonwealth. 

The guidelines provided for a balanced program of environmental and cultural projects, with priority given to those projects for which the relevant state or territory provided matching funding. 

Overall 44 projects were nominated for endorsement.

The projects approved by Cabinet subject to normal budgetary considerations included all of the following:

  • restoration of the Fannie Bay Gaol, Darwin
  • Wildman River Catchment Area study
  • Pine Creek railway station and repeater station conservation work
  • Archaeological sites documentation - Aboriginal sites of National Estate significance including Macassan sites
  • Northern Territory military sites survey
  • Emergency restoration work of historic landmarks at Victoria and Port Essington
  • Old Police Station and Courthouse/Naval Headquarters, Darwin
  • Springvale Homestead, Katherine
  • Restoration of a Flying Doctor aircraft and a Wackett aircraft for the Central Australian Aviation Museum
  • Restoration of the Borroloola police station and cell blocks
  • Alice Springs Telegraph Station National Park
  • Hermannsburg Mission Buildings
  • Daly River Copper Mines and Graves
  • Old Elsey Homestead, Mataranka
  • Adelaide House, Alice Springs - first hospital in Alice Springs, associated with the Flying Doctor System and with “Flynn of the Inland”
  • “Sandfly” historic engine – return from Port Augusta in South Australia.

Read the Cabinet decision - submission number 1443 and decision number 1752 of 16 June 1981 PDF (3.8 MB).

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Last updated: 14 April 2021

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