Vale Betty Amsden AO
27 February 2017
I extend my condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Ms Betty Amsden AO DSJ, who passed away peacefully at home in Melbourne over the weekend.
We have lost a great friend and an exceptional Australian whose commitment to emerging artists and philanthropy will be remembered for generations. Her legacy lives on through those she inspired and supported.
Ms Amsden was well-known for her role as Deputy Chair of the Board of the Australian Ballet School, which she served on for 15 years. During that time she worked tirelessly with others for the establishment of the student residence, Marilyn Rowe House, where her lasting legacy and significant financial contribution is acknowledged through The Betty Amsden Wing.
She was also a former Board Member of Orchestra Victoria and an Honorary Life Member of the RSPCA. Her expertise and ongoing support will be greatly missed by all who served alongside her.
Ms Amsden celebrated her 90th birthday last year and will be remembered for her lifelong enthusiasm and generosity. This included her $5 million landmark gift to the Arts Centre Melbourne in 2009 and an additional pledge of $1 million in 2013. Her generosity extended to multiple programs including Polyglot Children’s Theatre, the RSPCA, Guide Dogs Victoria, the Melbourne Recital Centre and the Australian Ballet Centre.
Her significant contribution to the arts was formally recognised at a national level in 2014 when she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for her distinguished service to the community through philanthropic contributions and support for the sector.
Ms Amsden was also awarded Creative Partnerships Australia’s Philanthropy Leadership Award in 2013 and the Order of Australia Medal in 2002 for service to the community as a philanthropist for the arts, animal welfare and health care facilities.
Her warmth, generosity and devotion to the arts will be remembered by the many people whose lives she touched.