Monday, March 28, 2005


Paul Hester, drummer with Split and Enz and Crowded House, has been found dead in a Melbourne Park.

Hester was born in Melbourne in 1959, to a bushman father and jazz drummer mother. Not a success at school - he was the first child in the state of Victoria to have to leave school after his teachers had petitioned for him to be thrown out, he drifted from job to job before following his mother into drumming as a career. Paul played in a number of bands which never broke through - Sea Monsters, Cheks and Deckchairs Overboard before Midnight Oil's Rob Hirst suggested to Split Enz that he take up their vacant drummer position. The New Zealand band were a bit vague about if he was in or not; eventually Paul took a tape recorder to a rehearsal to get a permanent record of the band admitting he was now a member.

After Split Enz, erm, split in 1984, Paul and the Enz's mainstay Neil Finn pulled together a band called Mullanes. Luckily, they realised that was a terrible name and rechristened themselves Crowded House - an poor name also, but crucially not quite as poor. The band went on to have international hits, most notably with Don't Dream Its Over. Paul stayed with band for ten years, eventually deciding to step down to avoid the pressures of touring.

He moved into television presentation, working on a number of different shows. He became known to a generation of kids in his role as Chef Paul on The Wiggles.

Hester was last seen alive when he took his dogs for a walk on Friday night. Paramedics reported his death as being from strangulation and said it appeared he had been attempting suicide. His friend Peter Green said he'd not been aware of Hester showing any signs of depression: "Paul never said anything about that and I never, ever heard he was suffering from any illness. Then, after today, I wonder if anybody really knew anything."

He is survived by his partner, Mardi Sommerfield and two daughters.

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