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Norma Redpath

1928 – 2013

Norma Redpath OBE, sculptor, studied at Swinburne and RMIT and undertook broad travel studies in Europe in the 1950s. Her early, immaculately-finished sculptural work attracted attention at the Centre Five exhibitions and at the annual exhibitions of the Victorian Sculptors’ Association, of which she became a council member and vice-president. She made a relief sculpture for the Baillieu Library at the University of Melbourne in 1961. The following year an Italian scholarship took her overseas; she worked in bronze-casting foundries and established headquarters in Milan. From that time she travelled often between Italy and Australia and Italian became her second language. She held her first major Australian exhibition of bronze castings at Gallery A, Melbourne, in 1963; the exhibition, documented by Wolfgang Sievers, was a great success, commercially as well as critically. A large wall piece she made for BP House in St Kilda road, Melbourne was installed in 1964. In 1965 she was commissioned to make what turned out to be her masterpiece: the Treasury Fountain, Canberra, 1965-69 (made in Italy, and recently refurbished). Her other significant commissioned pieces include the Victorian coat of arms for the façade of the National Gallery of Victoria, installed in 1968. She made Flying capital (the Sydney Rubbo Memorial) at the University of Melbourne (1970-74) in tribute to her lover, who had been professor of microbiology there. In 1972 Redpath was appointed HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellow at the Australian National University, spending about seven weeks in the capital in a ‘period of reassessment of myself and my work’ before returning to Milan to prepare sketches for a sculpture to be installed somewhere in the university grounds. Made in her Italian studio, the Extended Column – stylistically related to the Rubbo memorial- was installed at the School of Music in time for its opening in mid-1976.

Updated 2018