4901.0 - Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, Apr 2009 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/10/2009   
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In the 12 months to April 2009, there were approximately 1.9 million (71%) children aged 5 to 14 years who attended at least one of the selected cultural venues or events. It is estimated that outside of school hours:

  • 54% (1.5 million) of children visited a public library
  • 41% (1.1 million) visited a museum or art gallery
  • 34% (913,900) attended a performing arts event. (Table 7)

Public libraries

The attendance rates at public libraries were higher for girls (56%) than for boys (52%) and there was a decrease in attendance with age, from 55% of 5 to 8 year olds to 51% of 12 to 14 year olds. Children born overseas had a higher attendance rate (60%) compared with children born in Australia (53%). Attendance rates in the states and territories ranged from 48% in the Australian Capital Territory to 60% in Queensland. (Table 7)

Museums and art galleries

There was no significant difference in the proportion of girls and boys visiting museums and art galleries in the previous 12 months. Similar to public libraries, the attendance rate for visiting museums and art galleries was lower for older children. Children aged 12 to 14 years were less likely to attend museums and art galleries (33%) than 5 to 8 year olds (47%) and 9 to 11 year olds (43%). Children born in other main English-speaking countries had the highest attendance rate at 47% compared with those born in Australia (42%) and in other countries (33%). Attendance at museums and art galleries ranged from 36% in New South Wales to 60% in the Australian Capital Territory. (Table 7)

Performing arts events

There were 405,800 boys and 508,200 girls who attended a performing arts event in the 12 month period. The attendance rate for girls (38%) was significantly higher than for boys (29%) but was similar across all age groups. Attendance rates ranged from 39% in the Northern Territory to 29% in Queensland. Children in one-parent families were less likely to attend performing arts events (29%) than those in couple families (35%). (Table 7)


The attendance patterns at each cultural venue and event differed. For those children who attended selected cultural venues and events outside of school hours:
  • 45% of children who visited a public library did so 10 times or more in the 12 months prior to interview
  • 4% visited a museum or art gallery or attended a performing arts event 10 times or more

Attendance rates for visiting a museum or art gallery or attending a performing arts event decreased with number of visits. Approximately 40% of children visited these cultural venues once while 1% visited 14 times or more. However, attendance rates for visiting a public library increased with number of visits, from 6% visiting a public library once to 25% visiting 14 times or more. (Table 8)