Transfield Holdings began its patronage of the arts when Franco Belgiorno-Nettis founded the Transfield Art Prize in the 1961. At the time, the Prize was groundbreaking, as industrial companies were not normally associated with contemporary art. However, FBN said: ‘Artists and Engineers share the same spirit: wanting to make manifest their dreams.’
‘The Transfield Art Prize established itself as the premier contemporary art event in Australia. However, by the end of the decade, Franco was inspired to establish something more international and to move beyond a competition, which he felt was anathema to the notion of art. Thus, in 1973, with the support of the Federal and NSW Governments and the City of Sydney, the Biennale of Sydney was born, with its first exhibition held in the Sydney Opera House. The Biennale of Sydney was the first Biennale to be established without a prize. Today, with visitation exceeding 500,000, the three tiers of Government, together with Transfield Holdings (now by way of The Transfield Foundation*) continue to underpin what has become one of Australia’s most loved cultural events.
*The Transfield Foundation was formed as a Joint Venture between Transfield Holdings and Transfield Services in 2010 to focus the Group’s philanthropy by promoting innovation in the arts, education and resources management.