ALBURY ELECTORATE CULTURE AND ARTS
Mr GREG APLIN
(Albury) [1.00 p.m.]: Where can you live and enjoy the best of Australian culture and the arts? I am talking about the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Ballet, the Bell Shakespeare Company, the Archibald Prize paintings, the John Butler Trio, hip hop direct from Chicago or the Crusty Demons from Vegas? Sydney? Quite possibly. Canberra? Unlikely. Albury? Definitely. I am proud to say that I live in one of the cultural and arts capitals of Australia: Albury. In a competitive environment, members can imagine how hard it is for regional arts or sporting bodies to attract national and international events or acts. But Albury achieves the impossible. Albury is currently experiencing a golden year for the arts, much to the enjoyment of its residents and the increasing number of visitors. According to a new national tourism survey, visitor numbers to Albury are up by 37 per cent on the previous year. The reality is that on average 3,500 visitors spend the night in Albury. Fortunately they do not have to sit in their motel room watching television.
Stephen O'Connell, the Director of the Murray Conservatorium and President of the Association of New South Wales Regional Conservatoriums, has made a tremendous impact on the music life of Albury, and I take this opportunity to acknowledge his efforts, his success and his acumen. He leads a wonderful group of teachers and administrators at the conservatorium. In March the Murray Conservatorium helped bring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, with its 65 musicians, to Albury. Approximately 5,000 spectators enjoyed the mesmerising performance under the stars at The Scots School oval on a perfect autumn night. Albury Entertainment Centre has been the scene of many of the highlights of this year's cultural program. The Q Brothers brought their hip hop version of Much Ado About Nothing
from Chicago to Albury. In July the Australian Ballet's Dancers Company is performing Don Quixote
. These treats have been brought to us through the inspired work of Brendan Maher, as manager, and Chelsea McGrath as events coordinator.
In April an exhibition of Max Dupain photographs opened at the Albury Library Museum. Of course the renowned Max Dupain is responsible for one of Australia's most famous modern photographs, the iconic "Sunbaker" from 1937. The Albury exhibition focuses on Dupain's architectural, industrial and advertising-related photography. This was his commercial phase—a time of abstract images of stacked metal pipes and stairwells. It was perhaps in this last category that, in the 1940s, Max Dupain met my mother, who was working with the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in Sydney. My mother, Joan Aplin, has told me of the times she went sailing on Sydney Harbour with Max Dupain and other friends. From January to March, over at the Art Gallery in Dean Street, you could take in the best of the famous Archibald Prize. Always stimulating, always controversial, this is a feast of portraiture. Our thanks go to Carina Clement, team leader for Albury Library; Pam Owen, team leader for the Art Gallery and collections; and Jacqui Hemsley, group leader for cultural services at Albury City Council. Thanks also to Murray Arts, whose chief executive officer is Vanessa Keenan, for assisting with arts development in our region.
All major cultural cities present their own writers' festival and in Albury this is called "Write Around the Murray". For five days in September there will be talks by prominent authors along with workshops and dinners.
For the past two years the hard work of enticing established and emerging authors to our city has fallen to Robyne Young and in 2011 it now falls to Caitlin Tunstall. This year's festival promises to be bigger than ever. Several theatre companies present their shows at Albury venues. We have just enjoyed Nancy Hayes and Reg Livermore in Turns
. In July it is Bell Shakespeare's turn with Julius Caesar
. Here I would like to acknowledge the wonderful work of Hothouse Theatre's Jon Halpin and Bernadette Haldane, and Livid Productions and Albury Wodonga Theatre Company, in particular for their musicals, from Monty Python's Spamalot
in March, to the upcoming Miss Saigon
, which opens in October.
The internationally renowned Flying Fruit Fly Circus trains in its new multimillion-dollar facility in Albury. The "Fruities" present a fabulous circus arts program for children at this centre too. Board Chair Peter Challis, General Manager Chris Pidd and Artistic Director Markus Michalowski are running a truly iconic arts organisation. And in the July school holidays an estimated 240 students will make their way to Albury from many parts of Australia, to join the thirty-seventh annual Border Music Camp. As you can see, in Albury we provide a rich cultural environment for children too.
A study recently published in the British Medical Association's Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
found that people who create art, play a musical instrument or simply attend concerts and museums are more satisfied with their lives, irrespective of how much money they have or their level of education. All of the individuals and organisations I have mentioned deserve our recognition and our thanks. They have made Albury a major destination for artists and lovers of culture. Truly, Albury is the place to live and work if you are searching for a more affordable and exciting lifestyle but do not want to sacrifice your need to experience great art, music, theatre or dance. Albury City Council has planned an expanded cultural precinct and with assistance from State and Federal governments this southern gateway to New South Wales will entrench its position as a regional centre for the arts.