The Boy with No Name

In the far and forgotten corner of the Cheltenham Memorial Park (Cemetery), Cheltenham, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, there is a highly polished gray granite ledger with no inscription.  The gravestone has no markings and no name.  Atop the tomb is a bronze statue of a young boy holding a fish as big as he is, standing roughly 4 to 4 and a half feet tall.  The meaning of the sculpture is as much a mystery as who might be buried underneath.

But the artist who created the bronze is not a mystery.  A small signature carved into the base in the back of the sculpture reveals that it was created in 50s by the famed sculptor, Andor Mészáros.  Mészáros gained notoriety by creating the art and design for medals, some were somewhat controversial, but his Stations of the Cross series commissioned for the Canterbury Cathedral was wildly acclaimed.

Mészáros was born September 1, in 1900, in Budapest, Hungary.  When he was slightly less than 20 years old, Mészáros moved to Vienna, then to Paris to study art.  He studied with art greats Matisse and Modigliani.  By the time he returned to Hungary, Mészáros was an accomplished artist in his own right.  He was influenced upon his return by medalist Ede Telcs. In 1939, in anticipation of the impending war, Mészáros, his wife Elizabeth, and their son, moved to Australia. Though commissions were at first hard to come by, he eventually began taking on work and gained fame.

His works can be found throughout Australia and include three carved stone figures for Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, in Sydney, the sculpture titled ‘Maternity’ (1944), ‘The Surgeon’ (1945) and ‘King George V’ (1946).   Among his larger commissioned works were ‘The Resurrection’, a sandstone carving forming the reredos in the chapel of Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) (1954), the hanging rood in the transept of the Cathedral Church of St Peter, Adelaide (1955), and ‘Christ Accepts His Cross’, a bronze figure in All Saints Church, Brisbane (1962). Mészáros’s bas-reliefs in stone and bronze adorn many buildings, among them the Shrine of Remembrance, in Brisbane, the Supreme Court, in Darwin, and Sydney’s international air-terminal with his memorial to Charles Ulm.   His work can be found in many places round the world including Budapest, Stockholm, Baghdad and Breslau, as well as, art galleries in South Australia, Western Australia, and Victoria.

However, Mészáros gained his greatest fame for the designs he created for over 1000 different medals, including one of his most famous—the medal he created for the 1956 Olympic Games.  He also won a design contest for the Australian Dollar coin by the Australian Coin Review Magazine.  His winning design portrayed a flying swan which mistakenly became known as the Goose Dollar and immediately became a collector piece.  Mészáros died in May 1, 1972.

The mystery of the artist was solved but not the mystery behind the meaning of the boy with no name.

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