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Photographs supplied by Russell Byers

A sculpture commemorates musician David Helfgott who was born in Melbourne, Australia.  

Helfgott became known as a child prodigy after his father started teaching him the piano when he was five. When he was ten years old he studied under Frank Arndt, a Perth piano teacher, and won several local competitions, sometimes with his elder sister Margaret.

At the age of fourteen while studying in Perth, composer James Penberthy and writer Katharine Susannah Prichard raised money for him to go to the United States to study music. However, his father denied him permission.  When 19, he won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in London, where he studied under the pianist Cyril Smith for three years. ]

When in London he began showing manifestations of schizoaffective disorder.  He returned to Perth in 1970 and was married the following year.  After this marriage broke down he was institutionalised in a Perth mental hospital. Over the next ten years, he underwent psychiatric treatment which included psychotropic medication and electroconvulsive therapy.

Helfgott was the subject of the 1996 film Shine, which dealt withhis formative years and struggle with mental illness. The film has come in for strong criticism from Helfgott's sister for a range of alleged inaccuracies, particularly for the portrayal of his father as a violent and tyrannical despot.



Address:31 Hyde Street, Maam Gaduying (Meeting Place) Park, Bellingen, 2454
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -30.452329
Long: 152.898756
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Monument Designer:John van der Kolk


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:January-2008
Front Inscription

             "Music is treasure held in store
                    for all humanity"

This sculpture was commissioned by Camp Creative
to celebrate the inspirational life of local resident
                     David Helfgott

His life of triumph over adversity saw him recover from a serious breakdown
to resume his career and become a world famous concert pianist.

Peter Nance  Camp Creative President  January 2008
Sculptor  John van der Kolk

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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