David Walsh (art collector)

David Dominic Walsh AO (born 1961[1]) is an Australian professional gambler, art collector and businessman. He is the owner of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and Moorilla Estate.[2]

David Dominic Walsh
Known forArt Collector, professional gambler, businessman


Walsh grew up in a Roman Catholic family in the Glenorchy district of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, the youngest of three children. He attended Dominic College, and the University of Tasmania, where he briefly studied mathematics and computer science in 1979.[3] Walsh made his fortune by developing a gambling system used to bet on horse racing and other sports.

Walsh describes himself as a "rabid atheist".[4] He has been married twice, the second time in March 2014, to artist Kirsha Kaechele. He has three children from different relationships.[3][5]

In 2001, he founded the Moorilla Museum of Antiquities on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart, which closed in 2007 to undergo $75 million renovations. It was re-opened in January 2011 as the Museum of Old and New Art[6] or MONA. MONA won the 2012 Australian Tourism Award for best new development and is a major Tasmanian tourist attraction.

In July 2012, Walsh was involved in a dispute with the Australian Tax Office, which demanded he pay $37 million from the profits of his gambling system.[7] The dispute was "entirely resolved" in October 2012.[8]

In December 2013 Walsh gave a revealing interview on his personal philosophies, his quantitative approach to gambling, and the role of chance in his life to The Australian Financial Review's contributing editor Christopher Joye. He has stated that he subsequently developed a new chapter in his 2014 memoir based on the ideas that were formulated during this dialogue.[9]

In October 2014 Walsh's book A Bone of Fact was published. The publisher described it as Walsh's "utterly unconventional and absorbing memoir".[10]

On July 20, 2015, Walsh's partner Kirsha Kaechele gave birth to their child Sunday Walsh.[11]

In the 2016 Australia Day Honours, Walsh was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for 'distinguished service to the visual arts through the establishment of MONA, and as a supporter of cultural, charitable, sporting and education groups.'


  1. In The Age, 14 April 2007.
  2. "Our mystery billionaire?". SmartCompany.com.au. 10 August 2009. Archived from the original on 26 January 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  3. Denholm, Matthew (19 January 2011). "Temple of David". The Weekend Australian Magazine. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  4. "The Collector", The Age, 14 April 2007.
  5. Paine, Michelle (23 March 2014). "David Walsh's wedding party a real show-stopper". The Mercury. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  6. "A revolt in art". The Age. Melbourne. 15 January 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  7. Adrian Lowe and Andrew Darby (25 July 2012). "Support floods in for MONA founder in tax row". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  8. "Walsh settles tax debt", ABC News. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  9. "David Walsh's wisdom beats the odds". The Australian Financial Review. Melbourne. 14 December 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  10. A Bone of Fact, by David Walsh. Pan Macmillan Australia. Accessed 29 September 2014.
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