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Vernon Arthur (Bim) Hilder (1909–1990)

The sculptor Bim (Vernon Arthur) Hilder, who died last Friday, said his beginning as a sculptor was purely by accident: "I'd broken my ankle and, to fill in the hours, I began carving things."

The eldest son of the water-colourist J. J. Hilder, and brother of the marine artist Brett Hilder, he was born in Parramatta in 1909.

Hilder worked as a carpenter for the architect, Walter Burley Griffin, as a designer for the theatre, shop windows, film and puppet sets and, during World War II, as a camouflage artist.

In 1962 Hilder began teaching part-time at the East Sydney Technical College's art school and in the same year won a competition for a "wall enrichment" for the new Reserve Bank building in Martin Place.

This led to many public commissions, including the memorial fountain to Griffin in Castlecrag in 1965. In 1978 he was awarded an MBE for his services to the arts.

Hilder was a foundation member of the Society of Sculptors and was twice its president.

Apart from his large public commissions in metal, he also had a special affinity for carving in wood.

"All natural phenomena fascinate me," he said, "the flight of birds, wave formation, patterns of erosion, characteristics of plant growth, marine life crystal structure…I don't have any great aims or direction — I just do the best I can with the ability I have."

His wife, Roma, predeceased him; he is survived by two sons, Kim and Larry.

The funeral will be at 11.30 am today in the North Chapel of the Northern Suburbs Crematorium.

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Citation details

'Hilder, Vernon Arthur (Bim) (1909–1990)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 31 May 2024.

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