Molly Meldrum on Secrets of the Afterlife

Video | Updated 9 months ago

At the opening of Secrets of the Afterlife, we interviewed self-confessed Egyptophile Molly Meldrum about his impressions of the exhibition.

Question: Ok, first of all Molly welcome to Perth and welcome to the Western Australian Museum.

Molly: thank you very much.

Question: You have had a life-long love of Egypt, and all things ancient Egyptian. How did that happen?

Molly: It comes back to when my grandma at one stage looked after me and brought me up and she loved Egypt. And she had a lot of books and literature on Egypt. She’d read it all to me and show me the pictures and all of that – I just loved that. And my dad served in the Australian army and at one stage they were stationed in Cairo and so he brought back a whole heap of stuff and I just had the urge of wanting to go there. And I went there like a tourist the first time and went to the great pyramids and to the sphinx and all that. And then I had to go and I said ‘I’ve got to come back’ - and I went back…..saw the great pyramids near Giza. And so I did all that again and then I went up the Nile to Luxor to the Valley of the King and Karnak temple, Luxor temple, and then I went to Aswan further up and then to Abison Mahmuod. I just loved it.

Question: So how many times have you been there?

Molly: 34

Question: Why so many times?

Molly: It’s sickening [referring to the amount of times]. Because I just love it. I want to buy a house there in Luxor – one day I will.

Question: What is it about Egypt you love?

Molly: Everything about it. From the culture, the people. And then, obviously, the history of all the dynasties – Egypt itself and the fascination still of ‘how did they build the pyramids’ and ‘my God, what sort of technology did they have back then’. And the tracing of the galaxy, of the stars, and how they used them for their own way and their living. And then, obviously through the dynasties their passion and want and their obsession, you know, of the afterlife.

Question: OK, so you’ve had all this experience. You collect this stuff. You love this stuff and you’re here for this exhibition Secrets of the Afterlife – tell me what you think about what you’ve seen?

Molly: Well I was very excited when I was asked by the Western Australian Museum to come across here to see all these antiquities and artefacts from the British Museum, which holds a lot. And see things which I haven’t seen before – which I haven’t seen before, a lot of it. It’s been exciting – and the exhibition and the way the Western Australian Museum and all here have put this together is fantastic, unbelievable.

Question: So, do you have a favourite object?

Molly: Well I guess this one is always a favourite for everyone. There’s so much, you know – from the mummy - to that – to the mask on that – to the canopic jars – to jewellery. Everything about it is amazing. Everyone that comes here - they really need to, when they walk through from the very start – read everything, you know. And absorb that, then look at it again. You won’t be disappointed.

Question: What is it you would like visitors to take away with them when they go?

Molly: The understanding of a civilisation back then and how really advanced they were and probably in some areas way above us. And the fascination of the afterlife – of what they put into it. Papyrus that tells the stories, the Book of the Dead. Just absorb the knowledge that is here and take it away and then have the want to go to Egypt one day.

Question: Fabulous. So is this one of those ‘do yourself a favour’ ones?

Molly: It’s more than that because – well, yeah, I’ll put it that way. All I can say is have a look at this – it’s a number one hit! So do yourself a favour and come and see it. You won’t be disappointed!

Interviewer: Molly Meldrum, thank you.

Molly: Pleasure.