National Service at Carclew 1982-2011

On 7 March 1982, the AYPAA (Australian Youth Performing Arts Association) voted at its AGM to dissolve as a national organisation and to pass its assets (such as they were) to Carclew. Carclew then became, for a time, the National Centre for Youth Performing Arts, the Australian Centre for the international organisation ASSITEJ and the publishers of Lowdown.

So from 1982 to when Lowdown closed its doors in 2011, Carclew had on its staff various employees in 'national service'. This responsibility was taken extremely seriously, and part of the induction for Lowdown staff was a reminder of the daily commitment to serve every State and Territory of Australia, and not just South Australia. Lowdown  staff were the 'Nats', a nickname derived from the insistence that their names be followed by (Nat) or (National) rather than a State designation (SA, Vic, WA etc.) in any formal documentation from conferences or meetings. The Lowdown office was regarded as 'federal territory', as was the National Office, which eventually became the home of ASSITEJ Australia then YPAA (Young People and the Arts Australia), and Lowdown staff tracked more than 60 youth arts organisations nationally through most of its existence (as well as hundreds of other organisations and events on a less regular basis). Sometimes Lowdown staff would even brief new staff members of companies in other States and Territories on the history and past programming of their own organisation!

Apart from these paid staff there is a long history of voluntary national service within Carclew, from the 1970s to the present time, whereby Carclew staff volunteer their time to national organisations such as YPAA, ATSIA and the Australia Council.

Contact Details

Tony Mack
Editor and Project Manager
(08) 8267 5111