Old Grammarian story – Rose Hiscock (1985)

After an impressive career leading some of the country’s top cultural institutions, Rosemary Hiscock, reflects on Ballarat Grammar being where she began to learn the importance of a strong, grounded community.

As part of her role as Director Museums and Collections at The University of Melbourne, she is responsible for the development of the new Science Gallery Melbourne, an initiative aimed at young adults. She is also responsible for the University’s Art Museums including the Ian Potter Museum of Art and Buxton Contemporary.

Rose has held national leadership roles within the Australian cultural sector over the past 20 years and was previously Director of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse Museum), Sydney and Executive Director, Arts Development at the Australia Council of the Arts where she was responsible for international programs including Australia’s representation at the Venice Biennale. Rose also spent time at Museum Victoria where she was responsible for commercial and audience growth across the Museum’s highly successful and educational venues. Rose is committed to building an accessible, inclusive and thriving arts sector and is Board member of Back to Back Theatre, Chunky Move and the Melbourne Art Fair.

Tell us about your time at Ballarat Grammar
I really enjoyed the school community. I had a great group of friends who lived locally as well as around Western Victoria. I particularly loved going to stay with friends who lived on country farms. Also, I was a theatrical kid and found a group of like-minded creative souls.

I was involved in music (I was one of only two female brass players!), rowing and hockey. I was a cox for a crew in rowing who gave me a great deal of life-advice and threw me in the lake at every possible opportunity (does that still happen?). Although we weren’t the greatest crew, I gained a lot of confidence whilst honing my swimming skills. The crew still give me advice from time-to-time. I loved the outdoor program and took every opportunity to camp in the snow or take part in Outward Bound.

What were your career goals and aspirations at school?
Whilst I don’t think I had a fixed idea about a career, I’m sure I had an inkling that a career in the arts would suit me.

From Ballarat Grammar I was accepted into a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne and this opened my experience and my world.

How did your time at Ballarat Grammar help prepare you for your career?

I don’t think you can underestimate the role that a grounded community plays in the long-term welfare of an individual and I am very thankful for the strong foundation from Ballarat Grammar. It’s a school that cares about student wellbeing as well as marks. Ballarat Grammar of the 1980s had a number of exceptional and influential female teachers and role models such as Patrice O’Shea, Susan Patterson, Gail Sjogren, Carol Hall and Nola Squire, who inspired confidence and, in my case, the backing and belief to cut a pathway in life. And I will forever be indebted to Mrs Rucco for providing one of the great skills in life – a firm grasp of an apostrophe!

What advice would you give to current students or recent graduates?
Stay grounded, curious and find your own path. It is important to have a strong community, friends that you can rely on and a strong sense of self. You will have many choices as you leave school and throughout your life, so don’t feel pressured as you decide what comes next, you can explore as you go.

We would like to thank Rose for sharing her interesting career path and memories of Grammar with us.

To share your story or if you know an Old Grammarian who has an interesting career or achievement please email development@bgs.vic.edu.au