Bronze art medal titled 'Loch Ard Centenary' by Melbourne sculptor Michael Meszaros, 1978. This medal commemorates the 100th anniversary of the wreck of the Loch Ard off the southern coast of Victoria.

The Loch Ard was an iron clipper ship en route from England to Melbourne when, on 1 June 1878, it drifted through heavy fog toward the cliffs near Port Campbell. The ship ran aground on Muttonbird Island and everyone on board lost their lives except for Eva Carmichael, a passenger, and ship's apprentice Tom Pearce.

The Loch Ard Centenary Committee commissioned Meszaros to design this medal, and on it are pictured the Loch Ard, the cliffs on which she foundered and two figures in the water - Tom and Eva - clinging to wreckage. The commission fell through, but Meszaros decided to issue the medal himself to sell to collectors.

Physical Description

Bronze medal with obverse design depicting the forecastle of a sailing ship, cliffs and two figures in the water.

Obverse Description

Prow of the 'Loch Ard' sailing ship with a man and woman in the sea. A cliff at right. Around, LOCH ARD CENTENARY/ 1st JUNE 1978. Along mast, MICHAEL MESZAROS [incised family symbol - abstracted unicorn bull looking backwards over its shoulder]

Edge Description



This is one of 44 art medals in the Museum's collection by Michael Meszaros, dated from 1960 through to 1987, which chart the evolution of a new phase of the medal tradition in Australia. While Australian medals have previously largely been commissioned works associated with official commemorations or major awards, these are personal artworks. In addition to their aesthetic value, they document nearly two decades of Australian life from a personal and popular point of view, drawing on cultural trends, sporting and leisure, and emerging issues such as environmentalism. This is a modern development in Australia, but it harks back to the European tradition, developed in the Renaissance, of medals as artistic works.

For over half a century, sculptors Andor (1900-1973) and Michael (1945- ) Meszaros have created medals that reflect the high points of life in Australia. From major awards and portraits of eminent Australians to artwork celebrating popular culture and the natural world, these objects illuminate our culture and history. Grounded in a centuries-old European art tradition, the medals create connections across disciplines and link such diverse subjects as scientific advances, religious themes, sport, the performing arts and motherhood. Through their public and private commissions and their personal artworks, the Meszaros sculptors have defined the modern Australian medal.

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