Photo by Kevin Ayrey
As part of Yarra’s revitalisation works to Wangaratta Street Park, located in Richmond behind the Corner Hotel, a larger-than-life bronze statue of local music identity Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum AM stands with his beloved dog Ziggy by his side. Among many things, Molly is celebrated for his role as the presenter of Countdown which aired from 1974―1987.
Molly has lived in his Egyptian themed house in the suburb of Richmond in the City of Yarra for since 1982, so it seemed very fitting that the statue should be located here.
This sculpture, created by acclaimed Melbourne-based artist Louis Laumen and fabricated by Meridian Foundry in Fitzroy, celebrates Molly’s extraordinary contribution to the music industry. With careful attention to detail Laumen has captured perfectly Molly’s trademark Stetson hat and his right hand in the thumbs-up gesture he is recognised for. We are truly delighted to add this fabulous artwork to City of Yarra’s Art and Heritage Collection.
The project was instigated by Meldrum’s long-time friend and supporter Ralph Carr and funds for the fabrication and installation of the statue were raised through an Australian Cultural Fund campaign.
Molly―who is internationally renowned for having launched the careers of emerging musicians who went on to become house-hold names―has always passionately promoted Australian talent and this statue is a fitting tribute to the much-loved music legend. The statue was made to sit in the context of a celebration of Australian music and the significance of the Australian Live Music Industry hence the accompanying large-scale mural by 23rd Key and in the selected location of Wangaratta Street Park (close to the Corner Hotel and more recently, Unified Music). These two dynamic artworks contribute to Yarra’s revitalisation works to the park. Council has contributed $100,000 to upgrade Wangaratta Street Park.
This mural, entitled The Wall of Music by renowned Melbourne-based stencil artist 23rd Key, depicts a sea of hands of adoring music fans at the Corner Hotel (taken from a photo by Ian Laidlaw), which is flanked by gig posters. Her hyper-real depictions include posters for music gigs for Courtney Barnett, Dan Sultan, Kylie Audist, AB Original, Adalita, Killing Heide, The Living End, Hoodoo Gurus and many others.
With the support of Creative Partnerships Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund and financial contributions from Molly’s fans and friends, $118,000 was raised towards this project. In addition, $40,000 was contributed by the Victorian Government through a Creative Victoria Rockin’ the Laneways grant.
Image: Wall of Music, 23rd Key, Photo by Bernie Phelan