Dr John Gardiner-Garden of the Australian Parliamentary Library has published a briefing paper on Australian federalm arts poplicy and administration. It’s another fine effort from this estimable researcher:
Commonwealth involvement in the arts began soon after Federation. For example, in 1908 the Deakin Government established the Commonwealth Literary Fund, and in 1912 the second Fisher Government appointed a Commonwealth Art Advisory Board.
In the post-war period non-government grant giving bodies such as the Arts Council of Australia and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust were established with Commonwealth assistance, and the Menzies Government established the National Library of Australia.
The Holt Government involved the Commonwealth further in the arts by establishing the Assistance to Composers Advisory Board and agreeing to the establishment of an Australian Council for the Arts and an Australian National Gallery. The former was realised in 1968 by the Gorton Government.
There’s plenty more in the way of a valuable overview of Commonwealth arts policy and funding right up to the initiatives of the Rudd Government.