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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

2 October 2004

Star's dirt grave to be a memorial


An opera star's humble Melbourne grave will be turned into a memorial to mark her contribution to the Australian arts, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell ,announced today.

Gertrude Johnson OBE, who once sang with Dame Nellie Melba and was a catalyst for setting up the Australian Ballet and Opera Australia, is buried in St Kilda Cemetery.

"Her simple dirt grave, marked only by a commemorative plaque, does not do justice to her legacy to Australia," Senator Campbell said.

"Gertrude Johnson's new memorial will reflect the significance of this talented Australian and dedicated creative spirit."

He said the Australian Government's Commemoration of Historic Events and Famous People grants programme would provide $3415 to the Australian National Memorial Theatre to place a monument on the grave.

Senator Campbell said the project was one of seven to be funded through the programme, which provides small grants to commemorate nationally significant people and events and to maintain the graves of former Australian Prime Ministers and Governors-General.

"The commemorate programme is a way of acknowledging and thanking those who have given us so much and to whom we owe our gratitude," he said. "These memorials will also remind us of how we became the distinctive nation that we are today - through hard work, inspiration and dedication."

He said the other projects were:

Commonwealth of Australia