Vale Ignatius "IGGY" Jones
Thursday, 30 May 2024
When Ignatius Jones — affectionately known as “Iggy” to those in the Riverview community — passed away on 7th May, a great light in the world went out. Whilst some may not have known the name of this loyal son of Riverview, who was born Juan Ignacio Trapaga, they had marvelled at his work.

At his 20-year Riverview reunion, Iggy stood before his Class of 1975 peers. In his speech, he said he owed his already then illustrious and colourful career “all to Riverview”. He conveyed his gratitude to the Jesuits and teachers who, he said, “understood that if you go to the trouble of teaching boys to think, you mustn’t be surprised if they start thinking their own ideas.” Few who gathered that day would have been surprised that Iggy’s own breathtakingly creative imaginings would go on to be seen by a global audience. As Artistic Director of the millennium celebrations, it was his idea that, as the smoke of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks blew away, the word ‘Eternity’ would write itself across the Harbour Bridge. When Iggy returned to Riverview months later to address the school assembly, he recalled that this idea sprang from his time as a student at ‘View in the 1970s, where he had learnt the story of Sydney’s most famous pavement artist, Arthur Stace, who chalked the word across the city between his conversion to Christianity in 1930 until his death in 1967. Perhaps the most significant manifestation of Iggy’s love of Riverview occurred later, in 2000 when, as a key figure in organising the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games, he had more than 100 horses and riders thunder into the stadium carrying flags of the Olympic rings - not in their traditional colours, but in the Riverview blue and white. His words to Fr Gleeson SJ, then Headmaster of Riverview, as he presented him with a framed picture from the horse segment was, “I just had to get Riverview in there.”

Somewhat presciently, Fr Gleeson SJ, who had been Iggy’s Division Prefect in 1971, had written in his Year 8 report card, “Ignatius is a boy of much ability, and I am hoping that he will cope in a balanced fashion with the successes certain to come his way.” Iggy’s many successes included staging Timor-Leste’s independence ceremony in 2002, acting as Creative Director of Sydney’s ‘Vivid’ Festival between 2011 to 2019, and Artistic Director of the Sydney Mardi Gras parade from 2011 to 2015. In 2019 Iggy was made an officer of the Order of Australia for his significant service to entertainment as a writer, director, author and performer.

May Iggy, having now cast anchor in the harbour of eternity, rest in peace.