Thursday, February 22, 2024

‘King of Geelong’ to be immortalised in bronze

The life and achievements of well-known businessman, the late Frank Costa AO, will be publicly recognised with a permanent bronze statue in central Geelong, City of Greater Geelong Council has announced today.

In a statement, Council said Mr Costa – known by many as the ‘King of Geelong’ – holds a special place in the community for his tireless philanthropy, his role as long-time Geelong Football Club president, his significant business endeavours, and his passionate advocacy for the region.

Council has partnered with Mr Costa’s family and his beloved Geelong Football Club to make the memorial a reality after Geelong Authority member, Rory Costelloe, approached Council with the idea.

“Frank Costa has ‘Legend’ status not just at the Geelong Football Club, but within all sections of the community,” said Mayor, Trent Sullivan.

“Frank was a larger-than-life figure with a generosity of spirit, who lived his life in service and cared greatly about the welfare of Greater Geelong residents.

“A remarkable businessman, mentor and advocate, Frank’s work will have a positive impact on our region for generations to come,” he said.

Respected Australian artist and sculptor, Louis Laumen, is currently creating the public artwork based on the vision to memorialise him as a ‘paper boy’, in a nod to Mr Costa’s time selling newspapers as a child.

Then Geelong President Frank Costa (right) after Geelong won the AFL Round 14 match between the Geelong Cats and Hawthorn Hawks at the Telstra Dome in 2005.

The boy will hold up a copy of the Geelong Advertiser proclaiming Geelong’s premiership victory in 1951, with the statue to explore a number of unifying themes evident in Mr Costa’s life.

The 2.20-metre tall statue will be installed on the northeast corner of Ryrie and Moorabool streets (in front of the T&G Building) where the future businessman once sold papers.

The memorial is expected to be unveiled mid-2023, soon after the second anniversary of Mr Costa’s death.

“Council is thrilled to partner with the Costa Family Group and Geelong Football Club to acknowledge the unique contribution Frank made with this statue,” said Mayor Sullivan.

“This public artwork will not only illustrate the many facets of Frank’s life but create a space to reflect on and learn about his contributions and spark inspiration to help others.”

The cost to fabricate and install the memorial is $100,000 and will be funded by City of Greater Geelong Council, Costa-Costelloe and Geelong Football Club contributions.

In a statement, Mr Costa’s extended family said they were humbled by the gesture.

“We’ve been delighted to support this testimonial to Frank, depicting where his story begun. We believe it would mean a lot to him, it certainly does to us and hopefully to many others who got swept up in his endless world of possibilities,” the family members said.

Former Geelong Football Club premiership player and captain, Joel Selwood, described Mr Costa as an iconic figure in the region, and a generous, authentic and fierce advocate for the community.

“When I think of Frank Costa, I not only reflect on all that he achieved as our President and as a humble custodian of the Geelong Football Club, but all that he achieved beyond the stadium walls,” he said.

“Frank loved everyone and everyone loved him. He was a remarkable person and will always hold a special place in my heart, as he would by everybody who he came into contact with.

“One of the best things about coming to the footy club everyday was the stability of the place and without Frank, that would never have happened. Frank believed in Geelong when few did, and I’m honoured to represent the Club to acknowledge all that Frank contributed, in making this town what it is today.”

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