Epic fascinating interview with Shirley Hazzard from 2005 (The Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 185)
The Sydney of my childhood had no concert hall. The echoing old Town Hall was used by the unadventurous orchestra, and the Conservatorium of Music by the ballet company. The theater was very limited, with constant repetitions of casts and plays, yet there was interest in the theater, and some circumscribed efforts by small groups. The visual arts were worst off. The public gallery at Sydney had some good paintings--some, for instance, by nineteenth-century British painters who had come "out" to what was then a colony--but even these were displayed in such gloom and institutional dreariness that one dreaded the Sunday afternoons on which one was taken there. The government, entirely male and philistine, was actively inimical to the arts; ridicule was the keynote. These things, in Australia, have greatly, if not entirely, changed.