The site for the statue is expected to be close to the newly unveiled bronze statue of Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum, adjacent to Richmond railway station and long-running live music venue The Corner Hotel, creating a precinct that celebrates Australian music.
Hutchence’s big screen debut as Sam – a singer based upon a real person from Melbourne’s 1970s music scene – was in Richard Lowenstein’s 1986 film Dogs in Space. The share house where much of the film is set was in nearby Berry Street, Richmond.
Known around the world as the singer of multiple Grammy and ARIA award winners INXS, Hutchence released 10 studio albums with the band which toured extensively and drew huge crowds to their live shows, particularly from the mid-’80s onwards.
Charismatic and widely recognised as a talented songwriter, Hutchence was 37 when he died in Sydney. Two decades since his death his Californian-based sister Tina Hutchence said “it’s a wonderful day” after hearing about the statue plan.
“Michael loved Melbourne and most of his best friends still live there,” she said.
“I am elated the City of Yarra are taking steps to honour my brother’s global legacy.
“I honestly don’t know how to express my gratitude and absolute joy and relief right now.”
Sarah McLeod from Australian rock group The Superjesus was among those who lobbied the council for a statue, saying the City of Yarra was “taking the lead” in celebrating the important role of musicians, artists and entertainers.
“As a country, we glorify our sporting heroes no end but we don’t give hardly enough kudos to our musical legacy,” McLeod said.
“We look up at sporting statues because those people worked hard and trained … that’s great and a great influence on kids, but getting on stage takes a different kind of courage.
“It’s a real mind-over-matter thing and the only way to become great is to push through all that fear. It’s terrifying … you’ve got people judging you, constantly judging your performance and it’s hard work, you don’t just wake up and start doing it.
“The wonderful statue that we have there in Richmond of Molly Meldrum should be just the beginning. We have a lot to celebrate and Michael is the perfect addition to the family.”
Martin Boulton is editor of EG at The Age and Shortlist at the Sydney Morning Herald.