Helen Ganalmirriwuy inspecting her balgurr which she will make into a matj'ka (men's ceremonial skirt). Photo courtesy of Milingimbi Art and Culture.
Tim Fairfax Family Foundation Annual Report 2020-2021


TFFF aims to support initiatives that extend community experiences with a variety of artistic opportunities, as well as building the capacity of communities to engage with the arts in meaningful and sustainable ways.

The figures in the infographics below refer only to funding approved in the 2020/21 financial year.


new approvals


total approved


organisations supported

Opera Queensland Spotlight

TFFF has been a supporter of Opera Queensland (OQ) for over ten years, most recently boosting the capacity of their Learning, Regional and Community department to facilitate increased engagement with opera throughout Queensland’s diverse regional communities.

Over the last year, OQ has persisted through ever-changing COVID restrictions to deliver an impressive total of eight Learning, Regional and Community initiatives across more than 30 locations in metropolitan and regional Queensland, including:

Tosca Te Deum | August and September 2020
When COVID-19 necessitated the cancellation of OQ’s ambitious regional tour Project Tosca, the company swiftly crafted a new plan, engaging with local community members and aspiring artists from seven major centres – Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast – to form a digital chorus.

One hundred local singers and chorus masters, spread 1,800km across Queensland, gathered weekly online with the professional cast to rehearse before recording themselves singing the Te Deum, the powerful closing piece of Act 1 of Tosca. The individual recordings were brought together into one digital performance video, under the creative direction of Artistic Director Patrick Nolan and Laura Hansford, working closely with celebrated sound designer Geoff McGahan and videographer and lighting designer Mark Howett.

Are You Lonesome Tonight Tour | May and June 2021
In celebration of OQ’s 40th anniversary, the company undertook the most significant regional and remote tour in its history. The brand-new opera and country music production of Are You Lonesome Tonight, featuring arias and songs by Mozart, Verdi, Slim Dusty and Dolly Parton, toured to 31 locations with 33 performances, and amassed a total audience of over 11,500 people in just eight weeks.

With support from Mount Isa Mines, OQ artists completed residencies with the Mount Isa community, including six local schools and four community vocal ensembles. The residencies focused on vocal skills, self-confidence, stage craft and creative collaboration. Just under 100 local children came together to perform the repertoire they learnt as a chorus to an audience of 460 people (including parents and families) at the opening of the Mount Isa performance.

Festival of Outback Opera | May 2021
The inaugural Festival of Outback Opera joined over 2,200 locals and interstate guests in an eight-day celebration of opera across five local government areas in Western Queensland.

Two major outdoor concerts headlined the program in a combination of powerful storytelling and idyllic venues, Dark Sky Serenade was held at Winton’s Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum and Singing in the Night took place in front of the original Qantas hangar at the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach. The program also featured the popular community singing event Sing Sing Sing at the famous North Gregory Hotel, as well as performances of Are You Lonesome Tonight in uniquely outback settings including the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach and the Woolscour in Blackall.

“Opera Queensland has long shifted away from that FIFO – fly-in, fly-out – mentality of rolling into town for a show, rolling back out and having no engagement for the next year or two. Everything we do is directed towards building a great network of friends across the state who feel a really deep connection with their state company.”

Mark Taylor
Opera Queensland’s Director of Learning, Regional and Community

Where We Fund - Arts

Arts Organisations

A New Approach (new approval) Multi-year general operating support

$200,000 ($600,000 over 3 years)

Collaborative seed funding for A New Approach, an independent think tank created to champion the benefits of investing in a rich creative and cultural landscape and advocating for broader and deeper support for arts and culture across Australia.

Camerata Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra Capacity support for the Regional Touring and Education Program

$115,000 (one-year extension for 2021)

Support for Camerata’s regional engagement strategy through a contribution towards annual touring costs and wages for key personnel responsible for consultation, preparation and coordination of touring, education and community engagement in Queensland communities.

Circa Contemporary Circus trading as ArTour Western Touring Circuit Development Initiative

$77,000 ($232,000 over 3 years)

Supporting Circa/ArTour to build the capacity of the newly formed Western Touring Circuit through a range of activities that will contribute to its medium- and long-term sustainability.

Crossroad Arts Bridging capacity support

$100,000 (one-year extension for 2021)

Continued capacity support to enable Crossroad Arts to achieve its overall strategic objectives in working with young people, the disabled and the aged in Mackay and in other rural, regional and remote communities in Queensland.

Dancenorth Australia Community Experience Program

$220,000 (one-year extension for 2021)

Continued support to enable Dancenorth to rollout the revitalised Community Experience Program, as developed in line with the Company’s conscious commitment to dismantle barriers to dance, for all people.

Flipside Circus (new approval) Regional and Remote Residency Program

$110,000 for 2021

Enabling Flipside Circus to expand its Regional and Remote Residency Program with funding for a team of producers and circus trainers to consult and engage with new small and remote communities in regional Queensland, then prepare and deliver the touring program, including complementary digital elements.

JUTE Theatre Company Dare to Dream Remote Touring and Residency Program

$220,000 (one-year extension for 2021)

Support for JUTE to build its capacity to develop, produce and tour high quality theatre that shares the unique stories of Indigenous people in Queensland’s north, with accompanying school residencies to inspire students throughout Far North Queensland.

Milingimbi Art and Culture Djalkiri Collections Project

$155,000 ($522,000 over 3 years)

Support to employ a dedicated Collections Coordinator, senior artworkers, a linguist, and preservation and significance assessment consultants, and to create a new digital database and photographic interface to showcase the collection.

Museums and Galleries Queensland Exhibition Development and Touring Program

$100,000 (one-year extension for 2021)

Building a rich and diverse arts ecology throughout regional Queensland through improved community access to an array of visual arts experiences as well as professional development opportunities for regional artists and galleries.

Ngaruwanajirri Inc. Capacity Support - Succession Planning for Ngaruwanajirr

$123,000 ($253,000 over two years)

Capacity support for key management roles at Ngaruwanajirri over two years to bring to fruition a long-awaited succession plan and implement changes for greater sustainability into the future.

Opera Queensland Learning, Regional and Community

$270,000 ($795,000 over 3 years)

Support to grow and strengthen the Learning, Regional and Community Department through the employment of existing and new personnel to enhance the company’s capacity for touring opera to diverse regional communities across Queensland.

Queensland Symphony Orchestra Community Engagement and Education Capacity Support

$194,000 ($552,000 over 3 years)

Capacity support to enable the company to achieve their goals of entertaining, inspiring and educating audiences across rural, regional and remote Queensland through the employment of key Community Engagement and Education staff.

Rockhampton Art Gallery Reimagining Representations: First Nations Engagement

$124,000 (247,000 over 2 years)

Support for Reimagining Representations: First People’s Engagement strategy will enable the new Rockhampton Museum of Art to be more representative of its audience by including more Indigenous perspectives in its collection and exhibition development and by strengthening its existing networks within the local community.

Topology Inc Top Up Regional - Growing Creative Communities

$285,000 ($1,140,000 over 5 years)

Continued delivery and expansion of Topology’s flagship Top Up program throughout Queensland and the establishment of creative hubs in regional areas, which provide opportunities for local artists and practitioners to upskill and lead community-based projects.

Woodfordia Festival of Small Halls, Queensland and Northern Territory

$32,000 (one-year extension for 2021)

Funding to support Woodfordia to retain the producing team for the previously TFFF-supported Festival of Small Halls, enabling vital future planning to ensure the project’s longevity throughout the COVID-recovery period.

4MBS Fine Music Fund Silver Memories

$29,167 for 2020

Through the Arts Business Innovation Fund, TFFF joined with Arts Queensland to support 4MBS to develop Silver Memories, a special radio service designed to address social isolation and depression in aged care homes and retirement villages. Silver Memories broadcasts gentle, cheerful music from the 1920s to the 1950s, delivered 24 hours a day by satellite and also includes sing-alongs, birthday calls and song requests to encourage community engagement.

The Tim Fairfax Family Foundation is based in Meanjin (Brisbane).