Well-known artist and active community member John Cornwell has passed away at the age of 89.
John was well recognised in Sydney art circles before moving to Kiama with his late wife Dr Norma Cornwell in 1988. He contributed hugely to our local arts and cultural scene.
As an artist and sculptor, John’s particular historical themes focused on rural settings, working horses and marine subjects, featured in over 35 solo exhibitions.
His paintings, prints and other works can be found in collections around the world.
His local legacy can be found in Rotary Park at Storm Bay, where his three bronze bas-reliefs include The Pioneers, created for the 1988 Bicentenary celebrations. He was the joint winner of the Kiama Council Flag Competition in 2004.
John created all the silk banners which lined the streets of the Sydney CBD for the 1970 Captain Cook Bicentenary celebrations.
A permanent Sydney example of his great skills as a sculptor is the bronze statue of Trim, the beloved cat which accompanied Matthew Flinders on his epic expeditionary voyages.
Commissioned by the State Library, and unveiled in 1996, Trim sits on the Macquarie St side of the Library, with other similar creations elsewhere in Australia.
Quite apart from his contributions to local art, John was actively involved in many community groups, including Rotary where he served a term as President and was the recipient of a Paul Harris Fellowship. He was also the President of the Kiama & District Historical Society for 13 years. Other active involvement included Probus, Kiama Toastmasters and the Men’s Probus Choir.
His many friends will always remember John as generous, modest, jolly, good-humoured, a great raconteur and a real gentleman. He contributed greatly to our community in many important ways and will be very sadly missed.