Matcham Skipper

Matcham Skipper in the early 1940s
Photo: Albert Tucker. State Library of Victoria

Born New Zealand, October 14, 1921. Died Melbourne, February 24 2011, aged 89.

The third child and only son of Mervyn Garnham Skipper and Lena Cooper Skipper. The family eventually settled in a Burley Griffin designed house in Outlook Drive, Eaglemont Victoria. During the depression they rented this house and moved to a house in Latrobe Street behind the Russell Street Police Station.

His parents had become friendly with Justus Jorgensen and enrolled Matcham and his sisters in Jorgensen's painting classes. During the late 1930s and onwards the Skipper family were deeply involved in the building and evolution of Montsalvat, Jorgensen's increasingly grandiose artists colony at Eltham. This collection of building contain much evidence of Matcham's practical and artistic abilities.

In 1932 Matcham enrolled at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology there he met Alistair Knox.

At this time he was living with Myra Gould in stables in Grange Place at the rear of the Russell Street Police Station. This became an impromptu salon, where bohemian Melbourne went after the pubs shut.

After the Police Force evicted them, Matcham and Myra moved to Montsalvat where they remained for the rest of their lives.

Matcham's considerable artistic abilities found their greatest expression in his jewelery.

"While his working life was disciplined, his personal life was often turbulent. His three children from his marriage to Myra Gould are part of a larger family that includes his daughter Clio with the writer Glen Tomasetti, and his son Raphael with jeweller Sandy Kilpatrick. The sensibilities of the women in his life ensured a strong extended family. In spite of a peripatetic life, his home base remained in Montsalvat.

"Myra died in 1996. He is survived by his long-time companion, Kilpatrick, sons Marcus, Adam, Damien and Raphael, daughter Clio, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren." The Australian March 21, 2011

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