Vale Neil Balnaves

Art world in shock with news that Neil Balnaves has died in a boating accident near Tahiti

Tributes have rolled out on social media this morning following the news that Australian arts philanthropist Neil Balnaves has tragically died in a boating accident while holidaying in Tahiti on the super yacht, Oneworld, with his wife Diane.

Balnaves was 77. It is understood that Balnaves was in a small tender when it flipped.

The Adelaide-born, Mosman-based Balnaves was a former television executive, best known for founding, and running, Southern Star production house (which later became Endemol Shine Australia). It brought shows as Blue Heelers, Water Rats, McLeod’s Daughters, Bananas in Pyjamas and Big Brother to Australian screens, shaping our watching culture.

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina