Richard Guy speaks about Arthur Guy and the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize
Richard Guy OAM, talks about his uncle Arthur Guy, killed whilst serving in the RAAF, and about how his father, Allen Guy C.B.E., decided to create a national painting prize in Arthur's memory: the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize.
-Arthur Guy who was my uncle, who was in the Signals Corp based in New Guinea towards the end of World War II. And one day, he decided to go for a flight in a biscuit bomber that was delivering supplies and probably ammunition to some troops throughout the Western Highlands, and he went for the ride. I don't think he was meant to be on the plane, but he went anyway. And it failed to return. Sadly, he didn't survive. He's been buried in the Lae military cemetery there.
And my father had always had a desire to go and visit his brother's graves. And it took a long time to convince my mother that Lae was an exciting place to visit. He then invited his three sons to go. Two of us couldn't go, but the third one, or the middle one, Peter, he went, and they visited the grave site. And there, Peter videoed our father looking down on the tomb of his late brother. And he whispered to his brother, I'm sorry it took me so long to come.
Peter said he didn't hear this stated. But when the video was replayed many, many years weeks later, the sound came through, and we could actually interpret what he said. And it was only then that members of the family realized how much it had meant to him to go there, and how much he really wanted to go all those years, but just hadn't done it. So then he thought a bit further, in pondering his life and the good fortune that he had to survive both North Africa and New Guinea. He felt, well, I've had a family, and been able to lead a full life. And my brother has missed out.
So he wanted to do something to commemorate the memory of his brother, and so he then went searching for a project. It had to be in Bendigo. My father had always said Bendigo had been very kind to the family, and he wanted to reciprocate and give something back to the community in Bendigo that would be meaningful, but something that appealed to him, and something of lasting value. And it was suggested to him after many projects had crossed his desk that this one from the Bendigo Art Gallery from John Higgs, the president, and Brian Baker, one of the directors, they put together this proposal that this art prize, the way it's structured today, that's all their idea. That totally appealed to my father.