Tom Bass

News from the Archive

The Herald Sculpture

25th June, 2014

The Herald Sculpture




The Herald Sculpture – 1956-1959 (copper deposit) Sydney Morning Herald Building, Sydney, NSW


One of Tom Bass’ earliest civic sculptures was the Herald Sculpture which used to be located on the main entrance of the head office on Broadway and has since been lost to public viewing in the move of the printing works to Chullora, just west of Strathfield in Sydney.

In 1956 Bass began the sculpture for John Fairfax, the newspaper publisher. He regarded a newspaper like the Sydney Morning Herald as an important part of the fourth estate and the process of government in which the democratic process depends on the existence of a free press which informs the whole electorate.


The Sydney Morning Herald is also a part of the history of Australia. The paper’s own history is so rich that it is practically synonymous with the early history of Australia.

Bass tried to incorporate these values into the sculpture. The herald “of old” proclaims the news to the people of today through the printing press.

The tunic of the herald figure is emblazoned with the symbols of all these values that a great newspaper should represent “of old” proclaims the news to the people of today through the printing press.




The sculpture was modelled in clay and cast using the electrolytic copper deposit technique Bass had evolved for his large works.




The essence of the process is that the mould is placed in a tank containing a copper sulphate solution.









Then an electric current is passed through the solution, causing the copper to be deposited out of the solution and into the mould.

Instead of molten metal being poured into the mould, the metal is electrolytically  deposited into it.
The mould is then chipped off and the metal cast is cleaned and the pieces are welded together …. quite a process



The sculpture was installed at the Broadway Head Office in 1959