As part of Yarra’s revitalisation works to Wangaratta Street Park, located in Richmond behind the Corner Hotel, a permanent tribute to local music identity Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum AM has been installed. Created by Australian sculptor Louis Laumen and fabricated by Meridian Foundry in Fitzroy, the larger-than-life-sized bronze statue was made to sit in the context of a celebration of Australian music.
Immortalised in his trademark Stetson hat, with his right hand in the thumbs-up gesture that he is recognised for, the much-loved music icon is now be a permanent fixture in this thriving pocket park in the City of Yarra. With his beloved dog Ziggy at his side, Meldrum has lived in his Egyptian themed house in the suburb of Richmond since 1982 so it seemed very fitting that the statue should be located here.
Internationally renowned for having launched the careers of so many emerging musicians in the country, Molly has passionately promoted Australian music for decades. Among many things, he is celebrated for his role as the presenter of Countdown which aired from 1974―1987. This sculpture celebrates Molly’s extraordinary contribution to the music industry. Molly is synonymous with supporting musicians and it is both a fitting tribute to him as well as a celebration of the significance of the Australian Live Music Industry.
The project was instigated by Meldrum’s long-time friend and supporter Ralph Carr and commissioned by the City of Yarra. 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, which enabled the creation of the mural to champion the story of Australian music. This artwork, entitled Wall of Music by 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.
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 in this space. Council has contributed $100,000 to upgrade Wangaratta Street Park.