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Rose, David George (1936–2006)

by Kim Wells, Brian Turner and Roberta Turner

David Rose, n.d.

David Rose, n.d.

Now and then a young man trained at the Australian Forestry School, Yarralumla chose not to become a practising forester. This might be for a variety of good reasons: for David Rose it was because of his greater passion for art, which he put to good use in decorating Forestry House for the Annual Balls of 1957 and 1958—those who were there will not have forgotten the belching volcanoes of the “Night in Hades”!

There is no question of his studies being wasted however; the knowledge he gained from his forestry education was used to give depth, detail and correct setting for many of his paintings and prints. He held an exhibition at the Solander Gallery, Yarralumla to coincide with the 2000 AFS Reunion which prompted one viewer to remark that he was ‘perhaps the most successful forester in his class’. Those who attended the reunion will remember the painting Eucalypt 1 on the cover of the dinner menu, and 30 lucky people will still be enjoying his free-standing creation of a Moreton Bay fig which served so attractively as table centre pieces for the dinner dance.

David worked for a while in the Forestry Commission’s Division of Wood Technology in Sydney before marrying Jennifer Mannigel, whom he met at the AFS Ball in 1957, and leaving to become a full-time artist. After a stint teaching printmaking at the National Art School, East Sydney, David and Jen travelled in Europe for 15 months, when he studied etching in Barcelona and produced a series of lithographs. Their daughter Kirsten was born in 1971 and son Campion in 1973. In 1976 they went to live and work in Ourimbah on the Central Coast of NSW where Dave enjoyed commodious studios and assorted farm animals. Cancer took Jen from her family in 1982. David later married Hannalore [Hannelore] who also had two children, and the two families grew up as one in Ourimbah. He frequently exhibited his paintings and prints in galleries in Sydney and the Central Coast, most recently a solo exhibit at Gallery 460 in Gosford last November. Angophora’s were his specialty.

Dave’s very productive career is summarized in these few words he sent as notes for inclusion in documentation for the AFS year 2000 reunion:

Since 1961 I have had over 40 solo exhibitions and represented Australia at over 35 international Print Biennales (USA, Britain, Japan, Germany, Yugoslavia, Italy, Norway, Poland). Works are represented in the National Gallery, Canberra, all State Galleries, many Regional Galleries, Museum of Modern Art New York, Parliament House, many University and corporate collections.

David Rose died in December 2006 after a long bout with a brain tumour. At his funeral, one of his printmaking colleagues and former student said, “I can think of no silkscreen printer-artist in the world who has explored nature with the same persistence, the analytic insights, the sense of poetry, and the instinct for telling design, as David.”

Original publication

  • Forester, vol 50, no 1, March 2007, p 23

Citation details

Kim Wells, Brian Turner and Roberta Turner, 'Rose, David George (1936–2006)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/rose-david-george-18468/text30124, accessed 25 November 2017.

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