Marilyn Rowe House for the Australian Ballet School

It was with such excitement I accepted an invitation to the opening of Marilyn Rowe House for the Australian Ballet School.  It was a wonderful affair where not like the usual events I attend with social attendees and bloggers, there was a more demure presence and a love of the arts.

I first started ballet when I was 3 going on until I was 15 only to have an injury of which I would not return, but I am so grateful for the discipline, wealth of being, and love of classical music that my training has provided.  As a long time subscriber to the Ballet I have seen so many Swan Lake's, Nutcraker and Sleeping Beauty and now I am sharing the love of the arts with my children.  I feel it is important to instill at a young age an appreciation for arts.  I am always interested to see how a very young person perceives the arts and how we can make sure tradition of appreciation of arts can be carried through to the younger generations in a pop and celebrity status era. 

Marilyn Rowe is a passionate and distinguished principal dancer with the Australian Ballet and is one who knows goals can be long term.  Marilyn Rowe has been appointed an OBE from Her Majesty The Queen for her work in the Ballet and has forged her love to grow the arts in our country by being proactive and achieving a long time goal of a boarding facility where their is education as well as medical inclusive.  It is an amazing accomplishment and has attracted many of the Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove to the opening with an A list attendance.

About Marily Rowe OBE

Marilyn Rowe OBE Dip ABS, VGCEBI*

Marilyn Rowe was one of the first students accepted into The Australian Ballet School’s initial two year course; the first Prima Ballerina produced by the School and the first graduate to become its Director. In 1965, after just one year at the School, she was invited to join The Australian Ballet at the insistence of Dame Peggy van Praagh. While still a soloist, Rowe received her first invitation to Russia from Igor Moiseyev, who choreographed The Last Vision for herself and renowned partner, Kelvin Coe. In 1969 Rowe was promoted to principal artist.

In 1973 Coe and Rowe won individual Silver Medals and the Publishers’ Prize for the most outstanding couple at the Second International Ballet Competition in Moscow. They were also the first Australians to be invited to dance with the Bolshoi, Riga and Vilnius ballet companies. Rowe had many leading roles created on her by choreographers working with The Australian Ballet, including Glen Tetley’s Gemini, Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow and Andre Prokovsky’s Anna Karenina.

Marilyn Rowe was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1980 for services to ballet in Australia. After the dancers’ strike in 1981, at the insistence of the dancers and the Board , Rowe was appointed Ballet Director and Acting Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet. The following year she became Deputy Artistic Director and directed The Australian Ballet’s Dancers Company from 1984 to 1990. In 1986 she was chosen by Lord Lichfield to be photographed for his collection of Australia’s most beautiful women. She is the recipient of two Green Room Awards and an Adams Award, and in 2003 was included in the first Victorian Honour Roll for Women, which honours her contribution to Victoria and the Nation. She is a Life Governor of Berry Street and has been a member of The Australian Ballet’s Board since 1994.

Since 1999 Rowe has held the position of Director of The Australian Ballet School. The same year she was appointed a member of the jury for the Asian Pacific International Ballet Competition, held biennially in Tokyo. She has also sat on juries for the Prix de Lausanne, the Youth America Grand Prix, and the Beijing International Ballet Competition.

During Marilyn Rowe’s directorship The Australian Ballet School has undergone great change, including the expansion of its training programme from three years to eight, mentoring, health, academic programmes and teacher training for professional dancers. Her vision for the School, while drawing from its past achievements, has included the development a holistic approach to training, balancing its rigorous demands with a creative, caring and challenging environment, which equips dancers artistically, intellectually and physically for the demands of the profession.

Thank you to 'The Australian Ballet School' for this information.

Speech from

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Minister for Communications

Minister for the Arts

Minister assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Government

Manager of Government Business in the Senate

Thank you Leigh Johns and to your board members, each and every one of whom have put their heart and soul into this important national institution. Can I acknowledge His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove. Every significant national event is always enhanced by their presence. Could I also acknowledge Lady Southey and former Premier Ted Baillieu and Robyn Baillieu. Great to see you. Mr and Mrs Tanabe. Marilyn Rowe, past director, and what we are seeing here really is the fulfilment of the vision and foresight you had.

I know at an occasion like this you are not meant to have favourites, but I have one and I'm going to name her. And that is Betty Amsden. If ever I'm in need of a hug I know exactly who to go to. Thank you very much Betty. And also, can I acknowledge through Lisa Pavane the Director, and Sandra Ball, the General Manager, the staff of the school and also of this residence.

I know for the staff what you do is far far more than a job. It is your passion. It is your belief. It is your absolute commitment. And you know when you get up each day that you are making an important contribution to the lives of young Australians. So to the staff, thank you so much for what you do.

And most importantly of all, can I acknowledge the students and do that through Ally, Xavier and Anastasia who are the School Captains. Everything that we see around us here today and that we see at the school itself, is for you and for your colleagues. All of this around us only has meaning to the extent that it helps you be your best selves and helps you be all that you can be in your chosen profession and your chosen craft. So we are all here today for you.

And, ladies and gentlemen, I don't need to tell you just what a wonderful institution this is. It's one of the nation's seven elite performing arts training schools. We're incredibly fortunate to have such institutions in this nation.

We've heard I'm sure, over the last few years as the lobby for this facility has gone on, that the Australian Ballet School really is the last national ballet school in the world that didn't have a residential facility. And why is that important? I think we know that when you look at important national training institutions be it Duntroon, ADFA or the AIS, that when you have a residential facility it helps bred that collegiality that you want. It helps ensure that there is that duty of care which is hard to reproduce in another environment. It ensures that there is that intensity and that capacity to care which wouldn't otherwise be there. So this is an important final piece of the story of the Australian National Ballet School.

George Brandis has appropriately been mentioned, my predecessor who was very passionate about this project and is delighted that we've reached this point of opening.

And I know what a Federal Minister is meant to do right about now and that is to mention the dollar figure that the Commonwealth has committed. But it's something I'm always a little uncomfortable doing. Something that I seldom do. And something I'm not going to do today. Because it can mistakenly leave the impression that somehow, these are dollars which are the Government's that it has benevolently bestowed on a particular project. Obviously they aren't the Government's dollars. They are your dollars. You render them in taxation. I also don't want to mention a dollar figure that would take away from the overwhelming proportion of the budget of this project which has been raised by the community, which has been raised through generous individuals. Nothing should take away from that contribution and the fact that represents the bulk of the funding.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the achievement of passionate individuals who saw a need. Who set about meeting it. Who didn't see obstacles. Who only saw opportunity. And who wouldn't rest until it was achieved. So to everyone who has been part of this magnificent venture. Can I simply say to you – congratulations.

Thank you to Minister of Communications for sharing this speech with us, Click Here.

It is a great honour to be asked to meet the Governor General of Australia and you can see the details of his duties here.

Something to note is that Selfies with titled people is not appropriate. 



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