Raphael, Schubert, Mozart, Byron. Just a scattering of names of people who made enormous, one might even say immortal contributions to posterity, and not one of them made it to 40 years old.
A list of wayward rock and film stars who have died under that age would probably elicit much more famous names but, question of legacy aside, they all too frequently carry the loaded aura associated with an almost mythological celebrity self-implosion. The problem is that their end is all too often a distraction from their real legacy; the works they sought to create.
History does not tend to think of the first list of artists as young because it concentrates more closely on the remarkable maturity of the works.
The cult of youth and the obsession with biography has short-changed the young in focusing more on their youth and how it may have been misspent than perhaps more soberly considering the ideas, the energy and the visions it was willing to create.
The truth is, young people – if they are not appearing in sport – tend to make it into the media for mostly the wrong reasons.
In this town, they too often figure in the endless churn of the magistrate’s court, the community hall of shame, the trail excess and wanton destruction which are all too often the product of idleness and idiocy.
But this loud and empty minority does the majority of youth a great disservice.
Older people see the excesses and despair that it is so with all young people.
Today, The Courier begins a special series that we hope brings some balance to this picture.
In this city there are a large number of people under 40 who are affecting many positives for the city and community. People intent on making a difference.
These are the names and faces who should more properly reflect the generation for Ballarat.
And if they do not achieve the status of the under-40s first listed here, then we have the good fortune of having them around and contributing to Ballarat’s future for many years to come.