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Kym Bonython

1920 – 2011

Hugh Reskymer 'Kym' Bonython AC DFC AFC (1920-2011), company director, art dealer, jazz authority, music promoter and speedway entrepreneur, was one of the most significant collectors and dealers of contemporary Australian art in the post-war period. Raised in Adelaide, where his grandfather and father had been leading philanthropists, he served in the RAAF during World War 2 before returning to the ABC as a broadcaster. His jazz program ran from 1937 to the mid-1970s. In the capacity of music promoter, Bonython brought scores of international jazz and rock acts to Australia. At the same time, he was a speedway impresario in Adelaide from 1954 to 1973 and won the Australian speedway championship in 1956. He operated the Hungry Horse Gallery and then the Bonython Gallery in Paddington from 1965 to 1976, and the Bonython Gallery in Adelaide from 1961 to 1983. Daniel Thomas recalls that Bonython epitomised the reasons why 'the whole of Australia in the early 60s looked toward Adelaide'. For fifteen years Bonython acted as art consultant to BHP and he advised in the formation of many important collections of Australian art for national and international clients, notably the Americans Benno Schmidt and Harold Mertz. Director of Austereo Ltd from 1979 to 1991, he sat on many arts-related boards and committees including Musica Viva, the Australia Japan Foundation, the South Australian Jubilee Board, the Adelaide Festival of the Arts and the Australia Council for the Arts. Bonython has written six books on Australian painting and his autobiography, Ladies' Legs and Lemonade, was published in 1979.

Updated 2018