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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

National Cultural Heritage Account helps secure a major collection for the Powerhouse Museum

Media release
27 April 2009
PG/258

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Arts Minister Peter Garrett today welcomed the Powerhouse Museum’s latest acquisition, the Bruno Benini Photography Archive(1950–2001), purchased with assistance from the Australian Government through the National Cultural Heritage Account.

The account has now contributed to the purchase of four major items for the Powerhouse Museum's collection, including this latest addition. The 1950 Sydney Gold Cup, an historic biplane and an early musical instrument (a double bass by 19th century instrument-maker John Devereux) have also been secured for permanent public access with funding from the account.

Minister Garrett attended the launch of the collection with Hazel Benini - Bruno Benini's widow and professional partner during their working lives together - along with a number of the subjects who featured in Benini's photographic works.

Mr Garrett acknowledged the Powerhouse's sustained commitment to collecting and preserving objects that tell the history and attest to the value of unique Australian design.

“This wonderful collection of Australian commercial photography comprises over 250 prints, thousands of colour transparencies and black and white negatives, as well as support materials like magazine and newspaper clippings,” Mr Garrett said.

“I'm thrilled that the Powerhouse will ensure the ongoing preservation and display of the Bruno Benini Photography Archive.”

Mr Garrett also paid tribute to the achievements of this husband-and-wife team.

“The collection the Beninis built together forms a valuable and unique record of developments in Australian fashion and popular culture from the 1950s to 2001. They documented Australia's fashion and manufacturing industries, as well as our celebrated writers, actors,artists and musicians.

“Securing this collection for the public highlights the importance we now place on innovation and the creative industries, and is a vital historical and professional record for Australians employed in this growing sector.”

Since 2001, the Australian Government's National Cultural Heritage Account has helped cultural organisations, ranging from regional historical societies to state-based and national collecting institutions, buy more than 30 nationally significant objects or collections. The account assists organisations that cannot raise the full purchase price of an object so that historic items can be preserved and made accessible to the public.

The account is established by legislation that protects Australia's movable cultural heritage. A review of this important legislation is currently under way and is expected to be completed by mid 2009.

For more information on the National Cultural Heritage Account and the review of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 and the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Regulations 1987 visit www.arts.gov.au/movable_heritage .

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