Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust

The Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust (AETT) was set up in September 1954 under the guidance of H. C. ‘Nugget’ Coombs,[1] Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, Sir Charles Moses General Manager, Australian Broadcasting Commission and John Douglas Pringle, Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald. It aimed to establish drama, opera and ballet companies nationally.

Founding and History

Named to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Australia, the Trust raised £100,000 by a public appeal.[2][3] The trust had an agreement with the Commonwealth government to match public donations 'in the ratio of 1:3 and to provide ongoing funding'.[4]

In the 1970s, the AETT went into receivership and its operations were scaled back. Its arts promotion role passed to the Australian Council for the Arts (later the Australia Council).[4]

Since 1999 the Trust has offered overseas music scholarships; 80 scholars have been supported, with grants totaling over A$1 million. The Trust is also the owner/proprietor of the Independent Theatre, North Sydney.[5]

The Trust played a key role in establishing high culture in Australia through its involvement in setting up:

These orchestras became the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra in 1991, and State Orchestra of Victoria in 1986. The SOV has since been renamed Orchestra Victoria

Support Networks

It has also supported:

Following the establishment of the Australian Council for the Arts in 1968, it ceased to be a funding body for opera and ballet in 1970.

During the 1980s the Trust scaled back its operations and in the 1990s had a Sydney focus and operated a ticketing agency and organised theatre parties.

Chairs of the Board

See also


  1. Tim Rowse, 'Playing the blame game', The Australian, 16 May 2007.
  2. MS 5908 Records of Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust at the National Library of Australia
  3. Annual Report 1957, The Australia Elizabethan Theatre Trust
  4. 1 2 Roger Wettenhall, 'Kaleidoscope, or 'Now We See Them, Now We Don't!', Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration, No. 110, 2003, p. 32.
  5. Chairman’s Address for 2005, The Australia Elizabethan Theatre Trust
  6. Valerie Lawson, 'In the steps of the Empire', Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Feb 2002.
  7. Frank Strahan, "Gibson, Aubrey Hickes Lawson (1901-1973)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 14, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.
  8. Corrie Perkin, 'Philanthropist made his play', The Australian, 4 May 2006.

External links

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