26 Nov 2013

ACCA celebrates its 30th year reliving the past, and looking to the future…

Image Codes, installation view, ACCA, 1985. Courtesy ACCA Archive

ACCA celebrates its 30th year reliving the past, and looking
to the future…

November  2013

In the early 80s, the need for a dedicated contemporary art space was mooted in Melbourne’s art circles, to show works that might not ‘easily occupy a place in the normal exhibition system’.
The Cain Government got onboard, an advisory committee was formed, and a 19th century gardener’s cottage in the Botanic Gardens was proposed as the place for the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA)  
For ACCA’s first exhibition 3 Artists, 3 Rooms, David Larwill, Juan Davila and Howard Arkley were each given a room in the Domain cottage to paint however they wished.  Press at the time called it a ‘contemporary art explosion’.
Since then ACCA has launched thousands of new programs and forged ahead with a maverick spirit and a passion to promote contemporary art and artists in Australia.

Ten years ago, ACCA’s move to new purpose-built premises in Southbank secured its position as one of the leading centres for contemporary art in Australia, focused on creating opportunities for artists and bringing the best international art to Melbourne audiences.  

Over the next twelve months ACCA will celebrate its 30th Birthday with the ‘Our First 30 Years’ program, which commemorates ACCA’s rich history and the people whose dedication and vision shaped the story of art in Melbourne.  

Our First 30 Years


This week, ACCA launches REWIND, a weekly snapshot of past exhibitions, personalities and events, live each week on the ACCA website or delivered directly via email.

The first REWIND explores the history behind ACCA’s formation, and the search for an appropriate venue.  The second, live on 27 November, focuses on ACCA’s inaugural Director John Buckley, and the third, live on 4th December, on Keith Haring’s visit to Melbourne in 1984.   This weekly series will continue over the course of the year and will feature a range of subject areas and guest contributors.  


In addition, ACCA’s entire 30 year history has been collected, collated and digitized into an online archive, and will be added to the ACCA website incrementally over the next twelve months.

The archive features interviews with former artistic directors, artists, curators and board members, as well as visual records of past exhibitions, press clippings, invitations and more.  


In 2014, ACCA will present FAST FORWARDS – a series of lectures by internationally renowned keynote speakers, focusing on the future of visual arts.  Further details to come.

To receive the REWIND series via email, go to

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 111 Sturt St, Southbank.
10am – 5pm including weekends and public holidays
Wednesdays open late till 8pm, Monday by appointment .
Tel: 03 9697 9999.  Admission: Free.

ACCA is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

For further media information:  Katrina Hall 0421153046 or