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National Art Gallery - Report of Committee of Inquiry (Sir D. Lindsay)

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1967-Parliamentary Paper No. 199



March 1966

Presented by Command 1 November 1967 Ordered to be printed 8 November 1967




Printed in Australia by the Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra


Dear Mr Holt,

c/o Prime Minister's Department, CANBERRA 14 March 1966

You will be aware that Sir Robert Menzies, as Prime Minister, on 10 Sep­ tember last year announced the Government's intention to establish a National Gallery in Canberra and as a first step set up the National Art Gallery Committee of Inquiry, and appointed us to it. Mr Russell Drysdale was also a member and though inescapable commitments abroad prevented him from attending any of

our meetings he took an active part by correspondence. Our terms of reference were: To report on the proposal for a National Art Gallery with particular reference to the functions of such a gallery; and the method of control, the accom­ modation and the staff to carry out these functions.

We now have the honour of submitting to you the Report of our Inquiry. We met as a Committee on six occasions, in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Through notices in the press and, where a particular person or organisation was thought to have expert assistance to offer, by individual letter, we invited submissions on the matters within our terms of reference. The recom­ mendations contained in the Report of course represent our own views on these

matters; they are indeed our unanimous views. A summary of our recommendations, under the four headings of our terms of reference, appears at the beginning of our report. We were given ,the assistance of two senior Commonwealth officers-Mr J. W. Overall, the National Capital Development Commissioner, and Mr A. L. Moore,

Assistant Secretary, Prime Minister's Department. Besides supplying us with necessary information we could have received only from such quarters, these two gentlemen gave us much sound advice. We should like to express our warm appreciation of their presence at Committee meetings and their unfailing help

on other occasions. We also record our warm thanks to our Secretary, Mr C. J. Beaumont, for his unremitting efforts on our behalf and particularly for bringing together in one text the suggestions arising from full and frank Committee discussions; and to

Mrs V. Leehy also of Prime Minister's Department for her efficient attention to a multitude of practical details arising from our assignment. We trust that our Report will prove of use to yourself and to those many other persons who will share in the work of establishing the Australian National


Yours sincerely,












·. 1

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Name of Gallery

The should be named 'The Australian National Gallery', and its collection the 'National Collection'.

Functions of Gallery

Aesthetic merit should be the basis of acquisition policy. Items collected should relate principall?' to the visual fine arts but no form of visual art should in principle be excluded. G1fts of articles of high merit in ·the applied arts should be accepted.

The National Collection should be broadly based. It should include: an historical collection of the choice works of past Australian painters; the work of living Australian painters of all schools; Australian Aboriginal art, chc:>sen for aesthetic merit;

art representing the high cultural achievement of Australia's neighbours in southern and eastern Asia and the Pacific Islands-<:ollection of the latter before its disappearance being a matter of urgency; and art of the twentieth century on a world-wide basis.

The Gallery should be free to seek special Government financial assistance at any time to take advantage of opportunities to acquire outstanding and high-priced works.

During the Gallery's early years, the display of interim collections borrowed from various sources should be considered.

The Gallery itself should not be responsible for formal art education but should co-operate with other institutions having such responsibility. It should make special educational provision (e.g. a small theatre) for school children and adult education students visiting it. Copying of works in the Gallery should be permitted.

The Gallery should accept responsibility on a national basis for co-ordinating and disseminating information on art matters. For this purpose it should: maintain a catalogue of works of art held in Australia in public and private possession;

keep records of important exhibitions held in Australia; establish an archives of art documentation, e.g. artists' papers; maintain a comprehensive library of art reference publications; stock and sell published art material of many kinds;

assist other Australian galleries in the co-ordination of information and advice on the conservation of paintings and other works.

The Gallery in association with other galleries should arrange various tem­ porary exhibitions of many kinds and should have permanent accommodation pro­ vided for this. It should bring to Australia loan exhibitions of art from abroad and circulate overseas exhibitions assembled from Australian sources.

The Gallery should have facilities for concerts, films, lectures, meetings and other public functions.

The Gallery should encourage public interest in its affairs as expressed, for example, by gifts of art and money, and the formation of a Friends of the Gallery Society.

10639/68- -2 1


Method of control

The Gallery should have an incorporating statute. The controlling body should be a Council of not more than fourteen part-time members including two representatives of the Commonwealth Parliament, with the remainder, appointed by the Governor-General, to include representatives of the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board and of the appropriate Commonwealth department. The chairman should be appointed by the Governor-General. The term of appointment of the Governor-General's appointees should be four years but a

system of rotation of membership should be considered. A power which might be vested in the Council is that of disposal of art objects in the Gallery's possession. Until the Council can be constituted under legislation, there should be an

Interim Council appointed at the earliest practicableA time. The Gallery should be managed by a Director with responsibility for control of the Gallery staff. He should be a nominee of the Council (or Interim Council) and should be appointed for a term of five to seven years, with provision for renewal and prior termination.

The terms of employment of Gallery staff should be specially devised after a study of the staffing arrangements made for such Commonwealth statutory authorities as the National Capital Development Commission and the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority.


Only a limited number of appointments would be necessary in the early years. The first appointment should be a Records Officer to catalogue the existing National Collection. As soon as practicable a Director should be chosen; senior professional and technical appointments, to be made progressively as the Gallery building moves towards completion, should be made on his advice.

For full-scale operation, the principal professional requirements would be­ Director; Deputy Director; Registrar; Curators; Exhibitions Officer; Education and Information Officer(s); Records Officer; Conservator; Librarian.


Provision must be made severally for the many purposes indicated in the pre­ ceding sections. The Gallery should cover an area of approximately 125,000 sq ft. Some 56 per cent of its space should be given over to Gallery display (per­ manent and temporary) ; about 16 per cent to public education and amenities; and

about 28 per cent to Gallery administration (executive and technical). Desirably planning and construction of the building should begin in time for an opening in 1970.

1. INTRODUCTION Historical

1.01 Published accounts of the history of the establishment of public art galleries in each of the present six State capital cities vary somewhat, and that which follows is based largely on the Australian Encyclopaedia's text. 1.02 In 1861 the first of such galleries had been opened in Melbourne; eight years later it became by statute the National Gallery of Victoria. By 1875 it had moved

to the premises it still occupies, but will occupy no longer when the new building now being built is completed.


1.03 In 1875, four years aiter an art academy had been formed by a group of private citizens in New South Wales, a government-sponsored art gallery was established, and ·for some years had temporary quarters. The first of the existing courts of the present Art Gallery of New South Wales was formally opened in

1897. In South Australia a collection of works of art, the nucleus of its collection, was first displayed in temporary quarters, and opened to the public in 1881; the present building of the National Gallery of South Australia was erected in 1900. The Tasmanian Art Gallery was opened in 1887 and is still housed in the Museum

building in Hobart. Queensland's Art Gallery was opened in 1895 and now occupies a wing of the Exhibition Building, Brisbane. In Perth, a small collection of pictures was displayed for the first time in 1895, at the Museum building, its present gallery building being officially opened in 1908.

1.04 This sequence of public actions was accompanied, and indeed preceded, by much activity on the part of private organisations, which have been influential in developing a corporate artistic consciousness in the community. Most of the art societies have been short-lived, it is true, including the first one in Sydney,

which John Skinner Prout's influence helped to form in 1847. Several such bodies formed later have survived the years, however, and have been helpful in keeping alive in the community an interest in the visual arts at times when, unlike the present, the prevailing mood appeared to be indifference to any of the arts. When a

national gallery has been established at Canberra the objective of federal co-operation will have been advanced.

1.05 The notion of establishing an art gallery in the federal capital of Australia is as old as the master plan for a capital city at Canberra. A gallery appeared in the list of requirements prepared for the use of competitors submitting designs for the future city. Walter Burley Griffin allowed actually for two such galleries. For many

years from 1913 onward little more was heard of the subject, but this should excite little surprise having regard to the three formidable obstacles presented in turn by the first world war, the great depression, and the second world war. The decade that followed the second world war, a period of acute shortages and then of rival

priorities, held out no prospect of early change in the fortunes of a national gallery project.

1.06 During all the years, however, the hope of erecting an art gallery in the national capital remained alive, even when dormant. An Historic Memorials Committee had been set up as early as 1911, its function being 'to secure portraits for ultimate inclusion in a National Portrait Gallery of Governors-General, Prime

Ministers, Presidents of the Senate, and Speakers of the House of Representatives and portraits of famous Australians in art, literature and science'. The following year, to advise that body, a Commonwealth Art Advisory Board was also set up, the members of which have usually been practising artists. Very gradually the

scope of the Board's activities has been extended, for as well as acting in an advisory capacity in the acquisition of official portraits, it also began to acquire for the Commonwealth, with government-subsidised encouragement, pictures and sculpture in a wider category. The rudiments of a national art collection, including

works from abroad in addition to those from Australia, have thus come into being, incidentally (at least in the early stages) keeping alive the idea of an Australian national gallery. In recent years the collection has grown considerably, and the question where such a collection can be housed and displayed assumes ever­

increasing importance.



1.07 The years from 1955 mark an unmistakably new period in the history of the plan for a gallery. From this date the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board con­ tinually pressed for the establishment of a national gallery. Public consideration of the capital's plan was resumed in a more favourable atmosphere and fast and orderly development of the capital began. The basic documents are: the Senate Committee Report on the Development of Canberra (1955); the Holford Report, Observations on the Future of Canberra (1957); and the National Capital

Development Commission Act (1957). The growth of Canberra to a population of 250,000 is now a planned development. In this scheme of things, the notion of a national art gallery has a place; it is one of the buildings to be erected for the advancement of Australia's interest and achievement in education, science and the arts. The Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, announced formally on 10 Septem­ ber 1965, the Commonwealth Government's intention to establish a national art gallery in Canberra. The present committee was set up 'as a first step' in the Government's proposed establishment of a gallery.

The Committee's approach to its task 1.08 The Committee was established to report on the proposal for a national art gallery in Canberra with particular reference to the functions of such a gallery, and the method of control, the accommodation and the staff to carry out these functions.

1.09 With these terms of reference in mind, the Committee at the outset decided that it would doubtless be assisted by an expression of the opinions of persons and organisations in Australia equipped with knowledge of and interest in the subject matter of the inquiry. Invitations were accordingly issued, directly or by advertise­ ments in the Press, to forward comments and suggestions to the Committee.

1.10 A list of those who forwarded written submissions appears in the Appendix. Some submissions received went beyond the Committee's terms of reference, but all contained points of interest and the volume of response to the invitations was encouraging. The Committee thanks those who responded and is inclined to think

that a fair measure of agreement exists among those in Australia who are interested in the promotion of an art gallery in the nation's capital.

N arne of Gallery

1.11 With regard to the name of the Gallery the Committee, having considered several possible names, decided to recommend that it be named 'The Australian National Gallery'.

2. FUNCTIONS OF THE PROPOSED GALLERY 2.01 There are many functions which may rightly be deemed appropriate for an art gallery, but it does not follow that all should be assumed by any particular gallery. Many galleries have been established with the express intention that they

should primarily serve a particular end. For example, the Tate Gallery in London collects and exhibits British art and foreign art, the latter only if painted in the 100 years prior to acquisition. The Museum of Modern Art in New York is concerned, as its title suggests, with exhibiting modern art, but has highly developed the function of promoting art education in schools. Other galleries in Europe and America have other specialised functions. It seemed to the Committee


proper to consider the plans of the National Capital Development Commission for the creation of a 'National Centre' in Canberra in order to discover whether some functions appropriate for a national gallery are likely to be performed elsewhere than in the Gallery.

2.02 The Committee expects that as Canberra develops provision will be made for the exhibition of examples of industrial design, for a technological museum, for museums of aboriginal and archaeological materials, and for art educational services which will be linked with the Gallery and which the Gallery should not

seek to duplicate. National portraits of historic interest, the Committee expects, will be situated either in Parliament House or in an archival building of their own. Consequently, the Committee recommends that the guiding principle of those who administer the proposed gallery should be the acquisition of examples of the fine

arts selected for their aesthetic quality: no form of visual art should be excluded in principle from the Gallery's collection. Sculpture should be included; it blends and contrasts most effectively with two-dimensional art and yet is self-sufficient when seen in its own reserves. 2.03 The above principles should not deter the Gallery from accepting gifts or bequests of articles of high merit in the applied arts (e.g. furniture, ceramics) for

these not only add to the amenities of the Gallery but can be used to enhance the merits of pictures exhibited. 2.04 There is in fact already a Commonwealth National Collection of art. As mentioned in paragraph 1.06, the Commonwealth, through the Commonwealth

Art Advisory Board, has been actively buying pictures for some time now. The collection at present comprises: Australian Portraits ..

Prints, lithographs Colonial Period Paintings Impressionist Paintings Middle Period Paintings

Modern-Academic Paintings .. Modern-Abstract Paintings Sculpture .. Other countries

approx. approx. approx. approx.

approx. approx. approx. approx.

110 250 25 65

135 340 120 12

Oils, watercolours 3.3

2.05 In addition the Commonwealth Government owns many hundreds of oils, watercolours, prints and lithographs of the Colonial Period (Nan Kivell Collection), the Ellis Rowan Collection of 1,000 flower drawings, the Hardy Wilson drawings, and other paintings which are at present in the custody of various institutions­

e.g. the National Library. 2.06 We understand that collections and items such as these should not, at this stage, be considered as part of the national Collection as their final destinations are as yet undetermined. It is not open to us to propose that the works of art

included in the collections mentioned above and others be offered to the Gallery. We understand, however, that many of these items are of the highest aesthetic quality. We would confidently expect that the institutions which are now the cus­ todians of Commonwealth Government property which is by common consent a

high quality work of art will be persuaded to recognise that its proper home may be the National Gallery. Such an understanding could be the basis of a satisfactory arrangement for all concerned. In particular it would enhance the value of the Gallery's historical collection.


The Collection

2.07 Although we recognise the immense difficulties of acquiring works of art by great masters of all periods, the controlling body of the Gallery should always, we recommend, be alert to the possibility of acquiring them. It should have the opportunity, afforded the National Library Council in connection with purchases of significant book collections, of stating a case to the Government at any time for special financial provision to acquire an outstanding work of art of any country or period, known to be available for purchase.

2.08 Writing expressly of Australian art, Mr Russell Drysdale* has said: 'Should the Gallery then concentrate on a collection of past painters which is comparatively small but of first-rate quality? (And quality can be the only criterion of a national collection.) Should it then begin to collect largely from the painters of today? The writer believes that to gain a small but choice collection of prominent painters of the past (which may be added to by for­ tunate buying or happily by bequest) and the acquisition of painters of today

is the only practical policy as far as Australia's art acquisitions are con­ cerned. Again quality must predominate. Where schools of painting appear, the leaders naturally take pride of place but good examples of lesser members of such schools of thought round out a period in painting which may reflect its


The Committee agrees with this view and recommends that one function of the Gallery should be to make an historical collection of the choice works of past Australian painters; and to make a collection of the work ,of living Australians, including not only that of the leaders but also that of the less prominent members of the different schools of painting. Aboriginal work is intended to be included in Australian art; it should be acquired not for anthropological reasons but for its aesthetic merits.

2.09 The Gallery, however, should not confine its collecting to Australian work. The Committee feels that the policy underlying the establishment of the Gallery's collections should be very broadly based and that it would be a mistake, therefore, to be concerned only with Australian art. It recommends accordingly.

2.10 The Committee feels that a unique opportunity exists to establish within the Gallery's collections special provision for works associated with Australia's geographical and historical position. Specifically, there is no art gallery in the country with the responsibility of acquiring works of art representing the high cultural achievement of Australia's neighbours in southern and eastern Asia and the Pacific islands. In the latter case there is a sense of urgency in that many primitive cultures which have produced works of art of great artistic interest are rapidly being transformed by material progress. The Committee accordingly recommends that prominence be given to the art of southern and eastern Asia and the Pacific islands in the formation of the Gallery's collections.

2.11 It recommends further as an urgent measure that immediate action be taken to establish an acquisition policy for obtaining artefacts of Papua, New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

* Mr Drysdale, a member of the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board, was a member of the Committee. Inescapable commitments overseas prevented his attending any of the Committee's meetings but he displayed the keenest interest in the Committee's work and remained in constant communication with it. The Committee has profited substantially from Mr Drysdale's written submissions to it, the above being an excerpt from one of them.


2.12 Financial and other difficulties hindering the Gallery from setting out to acquire a collection representative of the great masters do not apply with such force to a policy of acquiring representative works of art of the twentieth century from anywhere in the world. The Committee believes such a policy should be

followed if only to provide a basis of comparison for Australian art of the same period. It is therefore recommended that as well as collecting Australian con­ temporary art the Gallery should collect representative works of the twentieth century on a world-wide basis.

Interim collections

2.13 In its early years the Gallery will not have acquired collections large enough to fill the new building. Over this period the Gallery might display interim col­ lections. It occurred to the Committee that an interim collection of aboriginal art might readily be built up by borrowing from various Commonwealth depart­ ments, which own such material but have as yet not been able adequately to display it. There is at least one State university which is similarly placed and which might be happy to lend material for a short period. Similarly, borrowings from the various State galleries might prove feasible. The Committee recommends that these and other possibilities for displaying collections on an interim basis should be explored.

Education and information

2.14 Every good collection of works of art has important educational value and the Committee is alive to the educational uses to which the National Gallery's collections can be put. Before dealing with these however, the Committee wishes to emphasise its view that the Gallery, while co-operating fully with educational

institutions, should not itself be responsible for formal art education. Further development in this field is highly desirable but the primary responsibility, in the opinion of the Committee, must rest with the universities and the other institutions of advanced education being developed in Australia. 2.15 But there are other educational services which, in the Committee's opinion, the Gallery ought to provide. First, the Committee recommends thart the Gallery

should make explicit provision in the plans of its building for facilitating visits by groups of school children and of adult education students. Among these pro­ visions should be included a small rtheatre with screen and projectors and seats for about 200 people. Such a theatre will of course serve a number of other purposes related to the Gallery, but the Committee has particularly in mind the educational purposes it would serve.

2.16 The Committee recommends also that permission be granted to selected students and artists to copy pictures in the Collection, under adequate safeguards. This practice has been recognised for centuries as one of the most valuable parts of an artist's training. It has been sadly neglected in Australia in recent years.

2.17 Next, there is a series of educational services which the Gallery should offer, in the view of the Committee, because of its responsibility as a national institution for co-ordinating and disseminating information on art matters. Such a collection might well become the nucleus of an archives of Australian art. Thus the Gallery

ought to create and maintain as complete a catalogue as possible of important works of art held in Australia; in private as well as public possession. It should keep full records of important exhibitions held in Australia. The Committee has reason to believe too that once the Gallery jmblicly accepted such an archival function it would be presented with many artists' papers. Material of the above



kinds is of great value to students, researchers, and to public and private collectors. It is not, so far as the Committee is aware, systematically garnered by anybody in the country, and the Committee recommends that to do so should be a function of the Gallery. 2.18 Also of the greatest value to students and collectors would be the mainten­ ance of a comprehensive library of art reference publications. The Committee recommends that this should likewise be a function of the Gallery.

2.19 The Committee recommends that the Gallery should display for sale in a prominent place books, catalogues, photographs, slides, reproductions, etc., relating to its own and other collections of art. The experience of art galleries which give prominence to the sale of publications suggests that this is a service which would be much appreciated by the public. 2.20 Finally, recognising the importance of skilled restoration and conservation

of works of art the Committee recommends that the Gallery be prepared to assist other galleries in the co-ordination of information and advice about such work.

Special exhibitions

2.21 It should also be part of the Gallery's national role to organise loan exhibi­ tions of art from abroad. Conversely, the Gallery should assemble exhibitions of art from Australian sources and organise their circulation abroad. Both these functions in the past have been performed by the Commonwealth Art Advisory

Board, but they would be more appropriately and conveniently handled by the Gallery's staff. The Gallery would no doubt receive the same ready co-operation from Commonwealth departments and Canberra's diplomatic community in the exercise of this function as has always been received by the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board in the past.

2.22 Moreover, the Gallery's staff might bring together from other galleries in Australia occasional exhibitions of specific schools of painting, so that the public could see, in the Gallery, all that Australia possesses of one or another category of ar.t. 2.23 The value of this kind of activity to the general public, to young artists and to students of art would be great and the permanent staff of the Gallery should

be prepared to assist so that exhibitions might also be displayed in the various State galleries. This is one example of the fruitful co-operation which the Com­ mittee hopes will take place between the State galleries and their new partner. 2.24 The range of art displayed in these special exhibitions could be extremely

wide and need not of course be confined to the categories which the Gallery features in its own permanent collections. 2.25 The Committee therefore recommends that it be one of the Gallery's dis­ tinctive functions to organise special art exhibitions and that liberal and permanent provision should be made in the building for displaying these specially assembled temporary collections.

Other activities

2.26 Art galleries commonly wish to provide entertainment and thus to attract a new public into their buildings by being host to a variety of associated activities. For example, concerts, films, lectures, meetings and public functions of various kinds may be arranged. The Committee recommends that the National Gallery should follow this example. Provision for these activities will be found scattered

through the Committee's specific recommendations, e.g. the theatrette, meetings


facilities, permanent galleries for special temporary exhibitions, and permanent display galleries designed so that two or more may be combined.

Gifts: Friends of the Gallery

2.27 Gifts of art and money are a most important source of every gallery's wealth. The Committee is reliably informed that many persons have already expressed interest in donating works of art to the National Gallery. Legislation of States and Commonwealth offers encouragement, through liberal gift duty provisions, to such donors. Gifts of money t.o the Gallery likewise may attract certain income

tax concessions, if paid into a Gallery Trust Fund specially established for the purpose. The Committee recommends that the Interim Council (recommended in paragraph 3.14) should investigate these questions, make its finding known, and consider, among other possibilities, the early establishment of an Australian

National Gallery Trust Fund. 2.28 The Committee expects that many members of the public will wish to help the Gallery by publicising its work and raising funds. This help would no doubt be given in an organised way, by the formation of a Friends of the Gallery Society or similar body. The Committee recommends that every encouragement and

assistance to such a development should be extended by the Gallery.

3. METHOD OF CONTROL Statutory Authority

3.01 The Committee next looked at the organisational means of carrying out the functions it has recommended, and recommends as the basis for all else that the Gallery be given statutory authority. 3.02 Gallery statutes of the Australian States, which owe much to British prece­

dents, served the Committee as its main model for consideration. The Committee also looked at some of the Commonwealth statutes setting up national institutions in Canberra, in particular, the National Library Act 1960. 3.03 The State gallery statutes distinguish four layers of authority in gallery

control: the Government; the gallery controlling body; the gallery executive officer; and the gallery staff. The pivot of control is the controlling body which may be a council or a board of trustees. The statutes and the Government of the day exercise certain general supervision over the controlling body and it in turn controls the executive officer (usually called the Director) and his staff. Thus the Government

selects and appoints the members of the controlling body and requires it to submit an annual report. The statute itself lays down various requirements to promote efficient administration. The Cont1;olling Body

3.04 The Committee recommends that 'this pattern of control be adopted for the national gallery. A part-time controlling body of this kind establishes a link between an institution and the community it serves, and when an institution is such that it should have close relations with the community such a link is desirable; it becomes even more desirable for an institution situated in Canberra and aiming to serve the whole nation. The value of a controlling body drawn from widely

separated parts of Australia has already been adequately shown in such institutions as the Australian National University, the National Library of Australia, and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.



3.05 The Committee prefers the term 'Council' to describe the gallery's controlling body; and therefore recommends that its name be the 'Australian National Gallery Council'.

3.06 The Committee recommends that intially the Council should have not more than fourteen members. The upper limits on membership of the controlling body of an organisation are set by the need for all members to share fully in its discussions. On the other hand, the body has to be large enough to ensure that

absences and vacancies do not make attendances at meetings too small to ensure a cmfficient range of viewpoints; to allow recruitment from as wide a range of talent and over as wide an area of a large country as possible and to enable the formation of sub-committees, for detailed attention to specific responsibilities.

3.07 The Committee recommends the following composition for the Council: (i) One senator elected by the Senate. (ii) One member of the House of Representatives elected by the House of Representatives. (iii) Not more than twelve members appointed by the Governor-General who

by their knowledge and experience would advance the full development of the gallery, two of these being members of the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board and one an officer of the department of the Minister administering the Act.

3.08 An indication of some of the implications of this recommendation would be appropriate at this point. Representatives of Commonwealth Parliament have been associated with the governing bodies of other national institutions set up in Canberra; they bring to the institution contact with the national electorate and the

national Parliament and they go back there as informed spokesmen for it. The appointments by the Governor-General place on the Minister and his advisers the principal responsibility for deciding the nature and quality of the Council member­ JOhip. The Committee would wish the qualifications for membership to be regarded broadly. There is more needed for the running of an art gallery than excellent taste and technical efficiency, and it is the Committee's view that intelligent laymen can become familiar with a gallery's many problems within a reasonable period of time and make valuable contributions to their solution. The appointment of only those with skill or expertise in art matters would deny the gallery the advantage which comes from variety of experience among the members of its Council.

3.09 The Committee considered whether to recommend that membership should be allocated amongst the States on a specific basis. Certainly the selection of member­ ship must be so made that parts of Australia are not neglected; but after consider­ ing various precedents and the problems of seeking formally to ensure State representation the Committee is satisfied that a geographical spread of membership can be achieved without statutory specification. Writing such a requirement into a

statute would only support a tendency to make members spokesmen for a State.

3.10 It is recommended by the Committee that the Chairman should be appointed for an appropriate term by the Governor-General.

3.11 The length of tenure of the Parliamentary members is a matter properly left to the Parliament. The term of office of non-parliamentary members should, it is recommended, be four years. This period is long enough to allow members to become familiar with their duties and short enough to effect a healthy rate of


change. Members would be eligible for reappointment, but the Committee strongly urges that reappointment should not be automatic. Clearly the main purpose of fixing a term of appointment is to avoid stagnation of membership. This is so important that ·the Committee recommends that the Gallery should follow the practice of having compulsory rotation of membership.

3.12 The Committee realises that rotation is complex to administer and under­ stands that national institutions established in Canberra in recent years do not have it in their statutes. But it would like the danger of overlong tenures to be noted, together with its recommendation for dealing with it.

3.13 Without wishing to elaborate on the powers appropriate for the Council, the Committee recommends two that might, perhaps, be overlooked: (i) the power of disposal of items which come into the Gallery's possession­ but with a safeguard. The power should be exercised in as public a

manner as is practicable and only after due deliberation. Operation through the Governor-General in Council, with publication of the Governor-General's decision in the Commonwealth Gazette and a pro­ bationary period of tabling of the decision in the Commonwealth Parlia­ ment should ensure these conditions. (ii) the power to impose admission charges at its discretion.

Interim Council

3.14 The Committee recommends that a Council set up on a non-statutory, interim basis be used during the period of establishment, prior to the passing of the founding statute. In fact, no other body, as the Committee sees it, can so effec­ tively help the Government in the task of establishment. Interim councils have

been appointed by the Commonwealth in establishing other somewhat similar statutory authorities, and a similar arrangement is recommended for the National Gallery. It should be succeeded by the Council as soon as practicable after the Gallery has its statutory basis.

3.15 Little time should be lost in setting up the Interim Council of the Gallery, principally because of the problems associated with appointing staff and with the construction of the Gallery building. On the planning and construction of the Gallery the Interim Council will be in frequent consultation with the National Capital Development Commission which would have the chief responsibility for

building the Gallery. During the period of planning, we are advised the Com­ mission will probably invite a distinguished international figure to Canberra to serve as an expert consultant. Normally, directors of galleries are required to act in this latter capacity, but as some time may elapse before a Director of this

Gallery can take up duty, the availability of a visiting expert will greatly assist those who have to plan and establish the Gallery.

Status of staff

3.16 The most important member of the staff of a gallery is the Director; as the executive officer of the controlling body he has general responsibility under that body for running the gallery and he is responsible for control of the rest of the staff. The Committee recommends the same broad set of relationships for the

National Gallery.



3.17 It would be the responsibility of the Interim Council, or of the Council, to• recommend a Director for appointment by the Governor-General. The (Interim) Council can be left to perform this task in its own way, seeking help and advice: wherever it wishes. The Committee recommends that the Director should be­ appointed initially for a term of from five to seven years. It is further recommended,. however, that provision for earlier termination of the appointment should be made on notice given by either party. The Committee recommends that the Director should not be a Commonwealth public servant, as that term is usually understood,. . but a statutory or exempt officer. 3 .18 In appointing other officers one has to reconcile the claims of the Gallery· on the one hand, and of the staff on the other. The Gallery wants an efficient staff and the staff seeks attractive terms and security of appointment. The Council should have power to make and to terminate appointments. The staffing ments of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, the National Capital Development Commission and similar bodies seem to the Committee to meet_ many of the requirements it has in mind, and the .relevant statutory provisions­ may well be suitable for incorporation in the Gallery Statute. The Committee: recommends them as a model for study by those deciding the status of the staff. of the Gallery.


Staffing in early stages

4.01 The Committee recommends that a Records Officer with art cataloguing: qualifications should be appointed immediately for cataloguing work on the . National Collection of about 1,200 paintings and prints and of additions to it_ Desirably, cataloguing should establish fully the provenance of a work, indicate­ its size and medium and give relevant biographical details. This first staff appoint-­ ment, which, in the opinion of the Committee, should not necessarily wait unt:ID. the Interim Council has been appointed, could be made for the time being to the Commonwealth department responsible for the National Collection pending estab­ lishment of the Gallery. This appointment should be made with the advice of the: Art Advisory Board. 4.02 As soon as the Interim Council of the Gallery has been appointed it should do at least the preliminary work on the task of gathering the Gallery's staff. One of its earliest duties will be to give thought to finding a Director; finding the right­ man and establishing him in the position might well take a year to achieve. 4.03 The Director will be the most important of the staff appointments in the Committee's opinion because his office shouJd command the authority of a depart­ mental head. The duties of the position are four-sided in that they concern the building, the collection, the control of staff, and the conduct of relations with­ the public. One man is unlikely to be able to give full leadership in all four; the amount of work involved is too great and the qualities required for the several­ aspects almost antithetical. Opinions vary as to where a Director's strength should: lie and the Committee thinks there is no single right answer to this question. An important consideration in seeking a Director, however, is to secure a man with,. primarily, the knowledge and ability to build a great collection, a qualification-. which for many years to come will be a vital factor in establishing the reputation· of the Gallery. For the rest it is essential that he have as his deputy someone who­ would complement his qualifications for the essential tasks to be directed from the top staff level. It would follow that this person should also have first ran.k: ability in his own field.


-4.04 The Committee therefore recommends that the Gallery should have a Deputy Director; the choice of this person should be made by the (Interim) Council in :the light of advice from the Director and would not be one of the early staffing taken.

4.05 Likewise, the choice of other key senior professional staff, e.g. Curators .and the Conservator, should be made with the advice of the Director. These would be appointed as the Gallery moved to a working basis possibly some time near the opening date of the building. At first the officers appointed would no

.-doubt be performing a combination of functions. -4.06 In the early period then the staffing appointments would be a Records Officer, a Commonwealth department, for cataloguing and general maintenance of the

..Collection; and, as soon as possible after the installation of an Interim Council, -but still perhaps not for some months at least, a Director, together with a skeleton secretarial-clerical staff.

Staffing for full-scale operation

-4.07 The Committee recommends that the key staff required for full scale opera­ tion of the Gallery be as follows : Director. Deputy Director: To share the burden of the four sides of Gallery work mentioned; the precise allocation of duties to be determined by the Director's <>WD special interests.

Registrar: For the daily management of such matters as staff, finances, trans­ port schedules of exhibitions-preferably with accountancy qualifications. Curators: To have supervisory responsibility under the Director for each of the main divisions of the Collection as they take shape; the range of concern here

is various and to an extent cuts across some of the services listed below. Exhibitions Officer: For the assembly and design of all exhibtions. Education and Information Officer(s): For services to educate the public (guide lecturing, publications, and publicity) and necessary research activities; management of the Information Service.

Records Officer: For Gallery records and cataloguing with the help of a Library Assistant. Conservator: Preservation and restoration work. Librarian: For building up and maintaining a library of art publications, including magazines and other periodicals, to serve the needs first of the Gallery

:staff and secondly of research students. Supporting Staff: As required; including secretary to the Director, typists, crafts­ men, attendants and cleaners.


5.01 The Committee has concluded that it should not be precise about the physical characteristics of the accommodation to be provided to carry out the functions it has recommended since it thinks these are matters best left for technical con­ ,gidetation at the Gallery planning stage. Nevertheless, as a guide to those who

will have responsibility for planning the Gallery, the Committee offers comments rOD certain characteristics of the building it would wish to see designed to permit

the performance of the functions it has recOlilJllended for




5.02 It is essential that those responsible for designing the Gallery building should make every reasonable provision when doing so to facilitate the task of safe­ guarding the works of art it will contain, notably from theft and from damage arising from humidity, rain, flood and particularly fire.

Approximate floor area required

5.03 After an examination of galleries elsewhere-their facilities and shortcomings -and of expert studies made in gallery design, the Committee recommends that an appropriate scale of building to meet the functions recommended for a National Gallery in Canberra is of the order of 125,000 square feet. In considering this recommendation it is of interest to note that the existing Art Gallery of New South Wales has a total floor area of approximately 80,000 square feet, and that plans have been advanced for future extensions amounting to an additional 68,500 square feet. The Adelaide Gallery, including its recent extensions, has 57,000 square feet and the plans for the new art gallery in Melbourne provide for a total

area between 220,000 and 250,000 square feet.

5.04 From examination of the use of space in a number of galleries it has been shown that from 40 per cent to 60 per cent of total accommodation is customarily used for display purposes while storage for the Collection ranges from 10 per cent to 25 per cent. In the light of submissions that inadequate storage is a problem in many existing galleries, the Committee recommends that at least 20 per cent of total space be available for storage of the Collection.

5.05 At March 1966 prices a total figure of $4,000,000 would be appropriate for such a building, and would provide a standard of finish comparable with that being provided in the National Library of Australia. This figure would include landscaping and car parking costs, and compares favourably with the cost of other galleries being built elsewhere in Australia.

Space proportions

5.06 The Committee has estimated that the several requirements for gallery space would be broadly in the following proportions:


For the Public Galleries-permanent and temporary display and circulation space Lecture room, theatrette, library and study, facilities for the young Foyer, publications, lounges, cloaks, creche and cafeteria

For Administration Executive including committee rooms, packing, loading, etc., storage of collection, recording and conservation, and workshops





sq ft of whole

70,000 10,000 10,000



56 8




Display galleries

5.07 (i) For the permanent collection. The size and number of galleries in which this display should hang are clearly amongst the most important questions which the Gallery authorities must decide for themselves. The Committee, however. has a strong preference for large spaces with provision for movable walls or

display surfaces rather than a series of inter-connected small display areas with permanent walls. Its reasons are: (a) modem methods enable a large space to be subdivided easily and to any desired extent;

(b) a large space has a range of uses in the field of 'other activities', as for purposes needing a conference room or hall. With regard to the display of sculpture, the Committee recommends that sculpture should be displayed in conditions specially appropriate for it, which may be indoors or, perhaps more frequently, in a garden or park setting or in an inner

courtyard open to the sky. 5.08 (ii) For travelling exhibitions. With strong support in submissions from people experienced in gallery administration the Committee recommends that, to avoid disturbance of the permanent exhibitions, separate accommodation should

be made for travelling exhibitions.

Lecture facilities

5.09 The Committee recommends construction of a theatrette, say with seating for 200, which as well as serving as lecture hall would cater as a supplement to facilities elsewhere, for a variety of uses including drama and music.


5.10 The Library would be used not only by Gallery staff but by some of the Gallery's visitors. The Committee recommends that the provision made for it, both in extent and quality, should allow it to offer the service recommended in the section of ·this report dealing with Functions.

Study facilities

5.11 The Committee recommends that the provision of study facilities take the form of study rooms associated with the library and the Collection's storage rooms.

Facilities for young

5.12 The Committee recognises that young people comprise a significant propor­ tion of visitors to Canberra and that many will undoubtedly visit the Gallery; thus in paragraph 2.15 it has recommended an education service for them. It therefore recommends some special accommodation provision for this, perhaps something

part-educational, part-amenity.


5.13 The Committee recommends that adequate accommodation be provided for the display and sale of the range of publications that it details in the section on Functions.




5.14 All modern galleries give serious attention to the problem of museum fatigue, and the Committee recommends the closest attention to provision in the Gallery's accommodation for the comfort of visitors. Every public amenity is a contribution but the basic solution is the foyer which, as the entrance to an important public building, has to be spacious for aesthetic reasons, lounges and other areas where there may be pleasurable relaxation. To some extent, such provision is incorporated in any display area including those in inner, open-air courtyards, and for the purpose of calculating space required some allowance should be made for that fact.

5.15. Some gallery designers favour provision of a creche for young children. As in the case of Facilities for the Young the Committee sees some merit in the idea and recommends that consideration be given to the inclusion of some such amenity. 5.16 The Committee feels that visitors should have the opportunity of eating meals

of high quality in surroundings of some distinction, perhaps amongst works of art. Provision for out-door eating might also be made. The Committee recommends therefore that a restaurant and/ or cafeteria might be included, thus leaving open the precise means to the desired end.

5.17 The Committee recommends that space for a large hall, suitable for official functions and the like, should be available within the Gallery area. This could be done by providing means for combining two or more display areas. 5.18 As explained in paragraph 2.25, meeting room facilities which could be used by outside organisations should be provided. Obviously these facilities could also

be part of the space used for Administration of the gallery. 5.19 Adequate car park space should be available for visitors.

Executive requirements of the Administration 5.20 The Committee believes that the requirements listed below are approximately those needed to house the staffing establishment which it has indicated would in due course be needed for the full functioning of the Gallery.

(i) A room for Council meetings, which would serve also for other important meetings. (ii) Office and amenities space for: (a) the Director, Deputy-Director, and senior professional and technical

staff as indicated in the section on Staffing; (b) supporting office staff. (iii) Appropriate provision for attendant, workshop, cleaning staff, including, as for other staff, toilet-shower facilities, and a common room-kitchen


Technical requirements of the Administration 5.21 Adequate provision for packing and unpacking, loading and unloading, and crate storage has an enhanced importance where, as the Committee recommends for this Gallery, special provision is to be made for temporary exhibitions, thus involving more complex and increased movement.

5.22 All objects received by a gallery must be recorded. Temporary exhibitions greatly add to this task. One of the common features of recording is photography and a photographic studio is thus another basic requirement.


:S.23 For the National Gallery the Committee has recommended maintenance of ..a comprehensive inforlilation celltre for art; conceivably this centre could be associated with the Gallery's own recording service but in any case it makes added -:space demands.

5.24 Ample provision of storage space also makes possible the provision of facilities for the examination of stored items, by students and other approved persons. A system of hanging the stored items on tracks, enabling each item to be -easily pulled out and viewed in comfort, is recommended. As mentioned above

,(paragraph 5.11), some facilities for study could be incorporated in the Collection :storage area; space for this should be allowed. 5.25 One of the most important duties of a gallery is to preserve and, when necessary, to restore the works of art in its keeping. This requires modem equip­ ment of many kinds (e.g. press table, pigment storage, binocular microscope,

.examination table and hot table) and ample room to use it. The area should provide for a conservation workshop, and a studio for examination and research­ ·e.g. photograph, X-ray and ultra-violet examination, dark room. It would seem .reasonable to have common facilities for this latter activity and the recording -operation mentioned above.

5.26 Workshops are needed for the manufacture and repair and maintenance of gallery equipment, as well as for the repair and maintenance of exhibition objects. They will include such units as a mount room, paint shop and spray booth, and a carpenter's shop.


5.27 Gallery lighting is a matter involving differences of opinion. The Committee recommends that both artificial and natural lighting should be used and that whereas natural lighting would be normal, provision should be made for it to be 'Supplemented (or replaced) by artificial light. In addition, to comply with the ·Conditions for certain special exhibitions it will be necessary to have at least one gallery lit exclusively by artificial light.


5.28 The Committee recommends that the whole of the buildings should be air-conditioned. For large halls this is the most convenient form of heating as well as ensuring humidity control. Wherever pictures are displayed or stored, and in most other parts of a gallery, air-conditioning is highly advisable.

Timing for design and construction '5.29 The timing for design and construction is a matter for Government decision, 'but having considered at some length the functions, method of control, staffing :and accommodation, appropriate for the Gallery the Committee has come almost inevitably to reflect on the timetable desirable for the physical development of

the Gallery project. The Committee believes that the need for an approval to begin soon is urgent. The present Collection is inadequately housed and cannot be put ·on permanent display; its further development is not practicable without an assured ·prospect on housing; and of course buildings of this size and quality cannot be made ready for use in much under four years from the date of approval for




5.30 It is understood that the major 1\ational work currently uruier construction · in Canberra, i.e. the National Library of Australia, is due for completion during 1968; and that there could be value in seeking some continuity of :use of specialised skills and resources required for the construction of the Gallery. HeJice it seems to the Committee that consideration might btt given by the Government to the feasibility of beginning construction of the Gallery at about that time.

5.31 The Committee, having in mind that the 200th Anniversary of the discovery of eastern Australia by Captain Cook will occur in 1970, records its view that the opening of the Australian National Gallery in 1970 could provide the Government not only with a desirable national work but also with a fitting means of recognising in the National Capital an anniversary of great national importance.



List of persons making submissions to the Committee Mrs G. E. Abbott, Double Bay, N.S.W. Mr J. P. Amon, Canterbury, Vic. Mr Bernard Boles, Melbourne. Dr W. Bryden, Director, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Mr Brian Callen, Alice Springs, N. T. Mrs Margaret Carnegie, Holbrook, N.S.W. Mr R. L. Cope, Parliamentary Library, Sydney. Dr Leonard Cox, Melbourne.

Mr C. J.D. Downie, Annandale, N.S.W. Lady Frankel, Canberra Art Club, Acton, A.C.T. Dr Gaston Hall, Dept of Modern Languages, Monash University, Vic. Mr P. F. Kaemmerer, St Kilda, Vic.

Mr John Kaplan, Public Library of N.S.W., Sydney. Mr Anthony King, Dept of Adult Education, Sydney University, Orange, N.S.W. Mr Erik Langker, President, Board of Trustees, Art Gallery of N.S.W. Mr Hal Missingham, Director, Board of Trustees, Art Gallery of N.S.W.

Mr Charles Lemon, Floreat Park, W.A. Mrs C. McArthur, Reid, A.C.T. Mr Stan Marks, South Caulfied, Vic. Mr G. P. Miller, Nedlands, W.A. Mr Frank Norton, Director, Western Australian Art Gallery.

Mrs Ailsa O'Connor, St Kilda, Vic. Dr J. R. Philip, Campbell, A.C.T. Sir Grenfell Price, Chairman of the Council, National Library of Australia. Mrs Marion E. Scott,. Executive Officer, Australian Society for Education through

Art, Melbourne. Mr Brian Seidel, Adelaide, S.A. Rev. Father P. J. Sharpe, Daramalan College, Dickson, A.C.T. Mr D. H. Simpson, Ulverstone, Tas. Mr Roy Simpson, Yuncken Freeman Architects Pty Ltd, Melbourne.

Mrs M. W. Skeates, Curtin, A.C.T. Dr Bernard Smith, Dept of Fine Arts, University of Melbourne. Secretary, Australian National Advisory Committee for UNESCO, Sydney. Rev. J. P. Stevenson, North Balwyn, Vic. Mr L. N. Symons, Ashburton, Vic. Mr John Taussig, Contemporary Art Society (Tasmanian Branch), Taroona, Tas.

Mr L. N. B. Thomas, Director, Queensland Art Gallery. Mr A. Vigeant, Quebec, Canada. Mr Gavin Walkley, President, Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Adelaide.

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