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Eugene Goossens
, c. 1954

by Max Dupain

gelatin silver photograph

Sir (Aynsley) Eugene Goossens (1893-1962) was an English conductor, composer and violinist. Assistant conductor to Sir Thomas Beecham in London, he conducted in the USA for many years before coming to Sydney in 1945 to conduct for the ABC. Two years later he took on the dual roles of Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Director of the Conservatorium of Music. At that time the city's only concert venue was the Town Hall. Goossens lobbied Premier Joe Cahill to convene a group to press for an opera house, which was cautiously sanctioned by Cabinet in May 1955. By that time Goossens was acclaimed as a composer and was dramatically raising training and performance levels at the Conservatorium. He went abroad to study opera houses in 1955, but when he returned to Sydney diverse pornographic items were found in his luggage, and the press exposed his perverse infatuation with Rosaleen Norton, the 'witch of Kings Cross'. Fined £100, he resigned from his posts and went home to die sadly in England.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Timothy Fairfax AC 2003
Accession number: 2003.32