Hall of Fame - Arts

Kenneth Neate

Opera Singer

 

This citation was read on the occasion of Kenneth Neate's induction into the City of Cessnock Hall of Fame on 30 November 2010.

Kenneth Neate was born in Cessnock in 1914. 

He attended Cessnock High School, where he became school captain, in addition to being captain of the athletics team and vice captain of the cricket and football teams.

Kenneth’s career in music began with piano and vocal studies in Newcastle, prior to repertoire studies in Sydney and further study in singing at the University of Melbourne. Whilst in Sydney, Kenneth joined the NSW Police force, serving in inner Sydney, whilst also singing as a soloist in the NSW Police Choir. This earned him the nickname of The singing policeman.

In the late 1930s, he sang his first operatic roles in Australia, before touring New Zealand and then moving to the United States, where he began working with the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1941.

With the escalation of World War II, Kenneth enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force in Montreal. Upon conclusion of the war, he re-located to London, and soon established himself as a major international operatic tenor.

Highlights of his operatic career, which spanned almost forty years, include:-

  • Performing at Covent Garden in the first post war season in 1946
  • Singing with opera greats such as Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and Birgit Nilsson
  • Singing beside Dame Joan Sutherland in her famous debut as Lucia di Lammermoor in Franco Zeffirelli’s Covent Garden production in 1959
  • Developing an extensive repertoire of roles in French, Italian and German opera
  • Performing in some of Europe’s most renowned opera houses including the Paris Opera, the Opera Comique, La Fenice and the Vienna State Opera
  • Being recognised as an outstanding performer of roles such as Tannhäuser, Lohengrin and Tristan in Wagner’s operas
  • Working with renowned conductors such as Sir Thomas Beecham, Antal Dorati, Rudolf Kempe
  • Performing at the Bayreuth Festival
  • Touring Australia for the ABC, J.C. Williamson Company and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust

In his later life, Kenneth produced a number of operas, and also lectured in voice and operatic studies in Munich, which was to become his home. He died there in 1997.

In May 1960, Kenneth Neate performed in Cessnock, and was presented with a commemorative citation. On the fiftieth anniversary of that occasion, the words of that citation are just as pertinent on this occasion of Kenneth’s induction into the Hall of Fame. The citation read as follows:-

On the occasion of his home coming for a recital in the Memorial Town Hall.

Dear Ken

We, the citizens of Cessnock, so many of whom are your old school mates, wish to place on record our affection for you, and the pride we feel in your achievements.

You have returned to us with honours thick upon you conferred in the great cities of Europe.

We share in your triumphs and will continue to follow your progress with unalloyed pleasure.

Whatever the future may hold for you, there will always be, if you but cast a backward glance, the rich esteem of your fellow townsmen to sustain you, and their pride in you to inspire you.

Useful website

http://www.operafolks.com/Cooke/valeken.html

Reg Lindsay OAM

Musician

This citation was read on the occasion of Reg Lindsay's induction into the City of Cessnock Hall of Fame on 25 November 2009.

Reg Lindsay was born in Sydney in 1929. His early life was spent there, and also in Parkes, Temora and Adelaide. One of his early achievements was becoming South Australian Swim Champion when he was 17 years old. It was not until later in his life in 1989 that Reg settled in the Cessnock area at Kearsley, which was to be his home until he died in 2008.

Reg showed musical talent from an early age, with country music being his favourite. Once he had left school he worked in the bush doing a variety of jobs such as jackerooing, working on windmills and sinking bores. He also began to perform at small shows in South Australia.

Reg’s first significant opportunity came in 1951, when he won a major talent quest in Sydney, leading to his first recording contract. In 1952 he established his first radio program on Radio 2CH, which was soon followed by many others and also his first tour. Much of Reg’s life was then spent on the road, touring with his young family for up to 11 months of the year.

In the early 1960s, Reg regularly appeared on television, with his shows winning two Logie awards.

In 1968, Reg made his first trip to the United States, the first of many, and became one of the first Austalians to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. However, his home was always based in Australia where his career continued to flourish.

Reg received many accolades and awards during his life, including three Golden Guitars for Best Male Vocalist at the Tamworth Country Music Awards, induction into the Tamworth Roll of Renown and the Hands of Fame. He has also been the subject of This is Your Life and was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 1989.

During his life in the Cessnock area, Reg brought his name as a pioneer of Australian country music, his experience and talents to the local community with his involvement in and commitment to the annual Reg Lindsay rodeo. This popular event, on the Cessnock calendar for the past 15 years, continues to this day.

Wayne McLennan

Author

This citation (with subsequent minor amendments included) was read on the occasion of Wayne McLennan's induction into the City of Cessnock Hall of Fame on 25 November 2009.

Wayne McLennan was born in Cessnock in 1954.

His early life was spent in Kearsley, before moving to Aberdare and then North Cessnock. As a child, he played soccer for Bellbird, Aberdare Rangers and East End (Cessnock); Rugby League for Aberdare Warriors and Cessnock Under 18s and cricket for Cessnock Workers Club and Abermain. His keen interest in sport extended to boxing, which he learned at the Cessnock Police Boys Club, going on to box professionally for a time using the name Donny Leslie.

Since leaving school, Wayne’s life has not followed a conventional path, and it his diverse experiences which provided him with the material to drive his skills as a writer. From an early job as a bank teller, he has been a boxer (including a couple of bouts for Bell's Boxing Troupe), a gold prospector in Costa Rica and a fishing boat skipper in Nicaragua. With a friend, he once rowed 1,600 kilometres between Seattle and Alaska, an expedition which led to the writing of Wayne’s first book.

Wayne’s experiences have in part been recorded in his first two publications – Rowing to Alaska and other short stories and Tent boxing an Australian journey. The latter, about Bell's Boxing Troupe, was inspired  by Wayne's experiences as a young man as a spectator of Jimmy Sharman's travelling boxing tent.  Both publications have been well received, with praise given for both the content and style of the work. Indeed, Rowing to Alaska was designated as a Notable Book in 2005 by the New York Times.

Wayne is also a contributor to the Australia’s Griffith Review and the UK’s Granta literary magazine, which publishes contributions from some of the world’s best known contemporary writers.

Wayne is currently based in Amsterdam in The Netherlands, where he is working on his third book. He frequently visits Cessnock, and readily acknowledges the influence that his home and early experiences have had on his own life and his evolution as an author.

Robert Edden

Artist

This citation was read on the occasion of Robert Edden's induction into the City of Cessnock Hall of Fame on 26 November 2008.

Robert Edden was born in Adamstown, Newcastle in 1927. In 1934, he moved with his family to Bellbird, where he enjoyed the study of wildlife in the Mount View area. He lived in Edden Street, ironically named after his grandfather, who was a Minister for Mines in the early 1900s. In his youth, he camped in the area’s old pioneer slab huts, which he later portrayed in his art works, along with his studies of animals and birds.

As an adult, with his own family, Robert returned to live in Newcastle in 1959.

Robert has held exhibitions of his work for over thirty years, throughout the Hunter Region and NSW, and three of his paintings are held in the Cessnock City Art collection.

He has also illustrated two major publications on Australian bird life. In Birds of the Australian rainforests, Robert illustrated more than 80 species through his paintings, displaying individual birds against appropriate botanic backdrops.

In addition to his creativity as a painter, Robert is also a talented and accomplished photographer.

Robert has led a diverse life beyond that of artist. He has been a businessman; had a keen interest in motorbikes, vintage cars and spear fishing and has also appeared on television.

Robert now lives in retirement in Newcastle.

 

Brian Castles-Onion

Musician, Conductor

This citation was read on the occasion of Brian Castles-Onion's induction into the City of Cessnock Hall of Fame on 26 November 2008.

Brian Castles-Onion was born in Cessnock. He attended school there, and also attended the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, where he subsequently commenced his tertiary studies.

Brian’s career has seen him become one of Australia’s best known conductors and pianists, working with New Zealand’s Canterbury Opera as Artistic Director, the Lyric Opera of Queensland, Opera Queensland, the West Australian Opera, and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. He has also held positions at the Victoria State Opera and Opera Australia. Indeed, it is to Opera Australia that Brian has probably made his greatest commitment and contribution.

Brian also works as a vocal coach, expanding his already extensive repertoire of skills and professional commitments.

Brian has also studied overseas and in 1994 was awarded the Churchill Fellowship to further his studies and experience in operatic conducting.

He has conducted numerous operas in Australia and New Zealand, performed in concert, including Opera in the Park and Opera in the Vineyards, and has several recordings to his name.

Earlier in 2008, Brian ventured into a new field of the arts, with the publication of a book which provides insights into life behind the scenes in the world of opera. 

 

Anthony Fogg

Musician, Arts Administrator

This citation was read on the occasion of Anthony Fogg's induction into the City of Cessnock Hall of Fame on 28 November 2007.

Anthony (Tony) Fogg was born in Cessnock.

Tony played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Seymour Group in the late 1970s, one of Australia's most prominent contemporary music ensembles. He was ensemble pianist, Founding Conductor and Artistic Director.

Tony subsequently served as music advisor for the Adelaide Festival of the Arts, Co-Artistic Director of the Musica Nova Festival in Brisbane and he was Artistic Associate of the Australian Opera.

As an Arts Administrator for the ABC, Tony planned and programmed all concerts presented by the Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, Adelaide, West Australian, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.

Since 1994, Tony has been the Artistic Administrator of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the United States, assisting the Music Director in the planning of repertory and selection of guest conductors and soloists for the company's subscription series at Symphony Hall, Tanglewood, and for all tours.

He is also responsible for the casting of the orchestra's regular concert performances of operas.

  • Born in Cessnock
  • Ensemble pianist, Founding Conductor (1977) and Artistic Director of the Seymour Group, Australia's most established contemporary music ensemble, premiering more that 200 Australian works in addition to commissioning and producing several new music-theatre works
  • Served as music advisor for the Adelaide Festival of the Arts
  • Co-Artistic Director of Musica Nova Festival in Brisbane
  • Artistic Associate of the Australian Opera
  • Arts Administrator for the ABC planning and programming all concerts presented by the Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, Adelaide, West Australian, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.
  • Appointed Artistic Administrator of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in 1994 assisting the Music Director in the planning of repertory and selection of guest conductors and soloists for the Boston Symphony Orchestra's subscription series at Symphony Hall, Tanglewood, and for all tours.
  • Also responsible for the casting of the BSO's regular concert performances of operas.
  • International Associate, Australian Youth Orchestra

 

John McDonald

Art Critic, Author

This citation (with minor amendments) was read on the occasion of John McDonald's's induction into the City of Cessnock Hall of Fame on 28 November 2007.

John McDonald was born in Cessnock and was educated at Cessnock High School and Sydney University.

He has been Senior Art Critic for the Sydney Morning Herald for many periods since 1983 and still holds that role. He has contributed to local and international publications on art and numerous other subjects such as films, travel and cricket, and he has worked as an editor.

John has also written catalogue essays, and monographs on artists such as David Strachan, Ari Purhonen and Jeffrey Smart.

From 1999 to 2000, John was Head of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. During this time, he was the curator of the exhibition, Federation: Australian Art & Society 1901-2001, which toured the country for eighteen months.

As a lecturer, John has appeared at colleges and public forums throughout Australia, and has lectured in Art History and Theory at the National Art School, Sydney.

In 2004, John held the position of Director of the newContemporaries Gallery in Sydney.

John is currently working on a new, definitive history of Australian art, with the publication of Volume 1 anticipated in late 2008.

John is one of Australia's best-known art critics, arguably the most prominent now with at least 20 years' standing.

  • Born in Cessnock in 1961
  • Educated at Cessnock High School
  • Studied at Sydney University
  • Has been Senior Art Critic for the Sydney Morning Herald for many periods since 1983 and still holds that role
  • Has contributed to local and international publications on art and numerous other subjects such as films, travel and cricket, and has worked as an editor
  • Has written numerous catalogue essays, and monographs on artists such as David Strachan, Ari Purhonen and Jeffrey Smart (Jeffery Smart: Paintings of the 70s and 80s (1990))
  • Head of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Australia 1999 - 2000
  • Curator of the exhibition, Federation: Australian Art & Society 1901-2001, which toured the country for eighteen months
  • As a lecturer, has appeared at colleges and public forums throughout Australia, and has taught Art History and Theory at the National Art School, Sydney
  • In 2004 held the position of Director of the newContemporaries Gallery in Sydney
  • Currently working on a definitive history of Australian art, with Volume 1 expected to be published in late 2008
  • One of Australia's best-known art critics, arguably the most prominent, of at least 20 years standing.
Useful websites:

http://www.echo.net.au/archives/22_02/pdf/p07.pdf

 

John Hughes

Author

This citation was read on the occasion of John Hughes's induction into the City of Cessnock Hall of Fame on 6th December 2006.

John Hughes was born in Cessnock. He completed his education locally at Cessnock High School , and then attended the University of Newcastle , Cambridge University , and the University of Technology , Sydney , where he completed his PhD.

In 2004, John published The idea of home, an autobiographical work about growing up in Cessnock in a household dominated by memories of the Ukraine , from where his mother and grandparents were forced to flee during the Second World War.

It is fair to say that this work has had a significant impact in the literary world. It won the Douglas Stewart Prize for non-fiction in the 2005 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, and in 2006 also won the National Award for Biography.

As well as being an author, John is also currently a high school teacher in Sydney.

  • Born Cessnock 1961
  • Attended Cessnock High School , leaving in 1979
  • Attended the University of Newcastle , Cambridge University , and the University of Technology , Sydney , where he completed his PhD
  • Published The idea of home in 2004, an autobiographical work about growing up in Cessnock in a household dominated by memories of the Ukraine, from where his mother and grandparents were forced to flee during the Second World War
  • The idea of home won the Douglas Stewart Prize for non-fiction in the 2005 NSW Premier's Literary Awards
  • The idea of home won the National Award for Biography 2006
  • John is currently a high school teacher in Sydney

 

Ernest Llewellyn

Musician, Educator

This citation was read on the occasion of Ernest Llewellyn's induction into the City of Cessnock Hall of Fame on 6th December 2006.

Ernest Llewellyn was born in Kurri Kurri in 1915.

He was taught the violin by the influential Jascha Gopinko, and by his early 20s was playing with the Sydney String Quartet and the Sydney ABC Orchestra. In 1936, he established a reputation as a soloist under Sir Malcolm Sargent. His early career also included periods with major orchestras in Melbourne and Queensland .

From 1949 to 1964 he held positions as Concertmaster and Assistant Conductor with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Perhaps the greatest legacy of Ernest Llewellyn is his establishment of the Canberra School of Music. He was appointed as Founding Director in 1959, and held the position until his retirement in 1980. Under his stewardship, the School grew to become one of the best in the country, with impressive facilities including the Llewellyn Hall, Canberra ’s foremost concert venue. During most of this period, he was also Musical Director and Conductor for the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.

Ernest’s reputation extended beyond Australia , being the first Australian to serve on a jury in the Tchaikovsky Competition, in 1978, and advising on music education in China and Canada .

Ernest died in 1982 aged 67.

  • Born Kurri Kurri 1915
  • Attended Kurri Kurri State School , Maitland High School , and for six months, at the NSW Conservatorium of Music, 1921 - 1930
  • Had first violin lesson with Jascha Gopinko in 1934
  • From 1934 to 1937 was violist with the Sydney String Quartet and also Deputy Leader, viola section, Sydney ABC Orchestra
  • In 1936, established reputation as a soloist under Sir Malcolm Sargent
  • Declined offer to be Deputy Leader of Scottish National Orchestra in 1939, the year he married Ruth Smith, daughter of A. E. Smith, luthier
  • Between 1940 and 42 was Deputy Leader, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, was on the teaching staff at Melbourne University, and was also Leader of the Melbourne University String Quartet
  • Serviced in the RAAF from 1942 to 1944
  • From 1944 to 1948 was Leader of Queensland State String Quartet, including during its tour of New Zealand in 1948
  • In 1949, toured the eastern states of Australia with Hephzibah Menuhin presenting the complete violin and piano sonatas of Beethoven
  • From 1949 to 1964 was Concertmaster with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, as well as being Assistant Conductor from 1959 to 1964
  • During this time, was also Leader of ABC String Quartet from 1949 - 1955In 1952, toured New Zealand with the Llewellyn Kennedy Trio
  • In 1956, was awarded the William Kapell Memorial Scholarship and the Fulbright Research Award, affiliated with Juilliard School of Music
  • In 1958, appointed Music Director, Chamber Music Festival at Mittagong
  • Appointed as Founding Director, Canberra School of Music in 1959From 1966 to 1980, was Musical Director and Conductor for the Canberra Symphony Orchestra
  • Awarded the MBE for services to music in 1968, and in1970 was awarded the CBE for services to musicIn 1974, was invited to attend the Fifth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow as an ‘honoured guest’
  • Oversaw the construction of the Canberra School of Music building, which was opened in 1976 by the Governor General
  • Became the first Australian to serve on a jury in the Tchaikovsky Competition, in 1978
  • In 1979, visited China to advise on teaching methods, and visited again in 1980
  • Retired as Director, Canberra School of Music in 1980
  • Established Wollongong Branch Conservatorium of Music in 1981 - 1982, with plans in hand for third visit to China and an exchange visit to Ottowa as conductor
  • Died Sydney 1982 aged 67
  • Ernest Llewellyn is commemorated through the Ernest Llewellyn Memorial Scholarship; the Llewellyn Hall at the Australian National University School of Music in Canberra, one of Australia’s finest concert halls, and the Llewellyn Choir in Canberra
Useful websites:

www.nla.gov.au/nla.ms-ms9215
www.anu.edu.au/music/about/overview.php

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