Historical information

Eltham was a creative hub during the twentieth century, attracting innovative visual artists, architects, writers and film makers to collaborate, forging lifelong friendships and artistic legacies. Skipper produced this bronze sculpture of friend, Composer George Dreyfus for the then Shire of Eltham Art Award.


Matcham Skipper (b.1921 NZ - d. 2011 Melb.) was a renowned local sculptor, jeweller and builder and an accomplished teacher, designer, ironworker, and photographer. His work is held by many museums and public collections in Australia and overseas. He was a long term resident of Montsalvat in Eltham with his family deeply involved in the building and evolution of this artists colony, which was the vision of architect and painter Justus Jorgensen.

George Dreyfus (b.1928 Germany - arrived 1939 Aus) is an Australian contemporary classical, film and television composer. He has composed numerous film and television scores, including Tim Burstall's 'The Adventures of Sebastian the Fox' (1963), 'A Steam Train Passes' (1974), 'Rush' (1974), 'Dimboola' (1979) and 'The Fringe Dwellers' (1986). It was the score for 'Rush' which brought him wider recognition. He has written four operas, two symphonies, chamber music and film scores spanning five decades. Dreyfus is well known for having worked with the late director, writer and producer Tim Burstall, a key figure in Australian postwar cinema and local who lived in Eltham. Burstall was instrumental in rebuilding the Australian film industry in the 60s, creating groundbreaking Australian films including 'Stork' and 'Alvin Purple'.

Physical description

Figurative bronze bust of well known Australian composer George Dreyfus. He is wearing a shirt underneath a sweater. His left arm/hand is placed over his chest. His eyes are half closed as if immersed in the music. A green patina can be seen in areas on the sculpture.

Inscriptions & markings

Signature and date cast (incised with tool) onto the back shoulder blade: 'MATCHAM SKIPPER 1987'