Composer and conductor. Born Eugene Aynsley Goossens in Rochester Square, Camden Town. Son of Eugene Goossens. Studied in London and Bruges and became associate conductor to Sir Thomas Beecham. He was conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, USA, 1931-46. From there he moved to Australia, where he became a major influence on that country's music, as conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and other groups, and as the director of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music. He was the founding father of what became the Sydney Opera House and was knighted in 1955.
His fall from grace was spectacular. In the early 1950s he had begun a passionate affaire with Rosaleen Norton, a New Zealand/Australian artist who dabbled in the occult and erotica. In 1956, returning to Australia from a trip to Europe to conduct some concerts and collect his knighthood, his bags were searched at Sydney airport and a large quantity of pornographic material was found. The police knew about his affair with Norton and had targeted him deliberately. His reputation was ruined and he returned to England, never to return to Australia.
He died in Hillingdon Hospital, Middlesex.
Credit for this entry to: Alan Patient of www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk