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Ribbons of Steel - cultural event to commemorate the closure of the BHP Newcastle Steelworks, BHP and the Australia Council, Friday, 27 August 1999, 10.00 am.

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The Hon Peter McGauran, MP

Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation



BHP and the Australia Council  

Ribbons of Steel - cultural event to commemorate the closure of the BHP Newcastle Steelworks

Friday, 27 August 1999  


Thank you Lance.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

I am delighted to be here today.

Ribbons of Steel is a magnificent tribute to the men and women of the Newcastle steelworks.

Ribbons of Steel is commemorating the closure of the steelworks - but it's also doing so much more.

It's a celebration of the spirit of the steelworkers.

A proud tradition underpinning much of Australia's industrial development and economic prosperity.

It is impossible to overstate the impact the steelworks has had on Newcastle, and in fact the entire country.

The depth and diversity of the works featuring in Ribbons of Steel is inspiring.

An extraordinary array of art forms involving so many people.

The intensity of emotion contained in these works is tangible.

And it is something that will be felt by every person who visits the exhibition.

We are in one of the most interesting galleries anywhere in the world.

Surrounded by art that tells a story.

A story of 84 years of steelmaking in Newcastle.

A story of pride, achievement, and worker dignity.

And it's a story that will continue to be told for generations to come.

It's no easy feat in one event to capture the history of an industry over 84 years.

This milestone though has been made possible through unique partnerships between BHP, the Australia Council and, of course, the artists and the local community.

It is this creative collaboration that has enabled this extraordinary achievement to take place.

The result is a rich, dynamic and diverse exhibition, which will bring the arts in all its imagination and joy to the many visitors who will flock here.

Ribbons of Steel could forge a new future for Newcastle and for the entire Hunter Region.

The city of steel may well expand its reputation as a thriving artistic capital.

Although I suspect there will always be a little molten steel in each artist's armory.

I congratulate everyone involved in making this exhibition a possibility.

It is something each of you individually and collectively as a workforce and as a community should treasure always.

I am confident that with talent like we see today, the future for this region is very bright indeed.

There is skill here, but more importantly, there is conviction.

It is a great pleasure to officially open Ribbons of Steel artists' day.



jy  1999-09-03  15:39