Insiders Sydney: Memorials



Queen Victoria
The statue of the beloved Queen Victoria that gave the square its present name was unveiled by the Governor's wife Lady Carrington on 24th January 1888. It stood right where the people of her day would have wanted it to be, right in the middle of the circle. But within six years, trams were introduced to Macquarie Street and the statue was circled by tram tracks laid for the new Darling Harbour to Edgecliff service. Later, covered waiting sheds were being built in a semi-circle around Queen Victoria for the electric trams which took over in 1905.
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  • Prince Albert The Good
    This statue by English sculptor William Theed (1804-91) stands in Queens Square however, when it was first unveiled by the Governor Sir John Young in April 1866, it was located at the entrance to Hyde Park. Albert the Good was the German born Prince Consort, the husband of Queen Victoria. He never visited Australia and was little known in this country except for his straight-laced moral attitude, his devotion to his wife and her deep love for him. He was the mastermind of the Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851 which triggered a succession of imitative expositions around the British Empire including one in Sydney and another in Melbourne. He contracted typhoid fever and died shortly before Christmas 1861. Prince Albert's death devastated Queen Victoria who suffered a nervous breakdown.
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    • Queen Victoria
      Having previously held pride of place in front of the Irish Parliament until its removal in 1947, this statue was found forgotten and neglected in the small Irish village of Daingean in 1983 after the Sydney City Council instigated a worldwide search for a statue of Queen Victoria to be placed alongside the Queen Victoria Building, George Street. This is one of two statues of Queen Victoria in central Sydney.



      Close by is a sculpture of Islay, Queen Victoria's beloved dog. A piece of stone from Blarney Castle, Ireland, is built into the wishing well. The real life Islay only lived to be five after dying from a fight with a cat. It is located at the Town Hall end of the Queen Victoria Building.


      King George II and III
      Sandringham Gardens in Sydney's Hyde Park North were developed to commemorate the intended visit in 1952 of King George VI. The memorial was designed as a sunken garden with a reflecting pool partly enclosed by a pergola, and its association with the King s home at Sandringham, Norfolk, England was to be marked by the a gift of 12 oak and elm trees. Due to the sudden death of the King, the Royal Tour was cancelled and plans for the garden were suspended. In 1953, it was decided to dedicate the gardens as a joint memorial to the late King George V and the late King George VI. The memorial gates to Sandringham Gardens were unlocked on 5 February 1954 by the late King George VI's daughter, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, using a ceremonial key designed to incorporate the mural crown from the city's coat of arms.


      King Edward VIII
      This large bronze statue of King Edward VII riding a horse, erected in its present position in front of the Conservatorium of Music in 1922, was created by Sir Thomas Brock. Brock was also responsible for creating the Queen Victoria Memorial in The Mall outside Buckingham Palace, London. Born in 1841, Edward VII did not inherit the throne until his mother's death in 1901, when he was 59 years old. Given little responsibility during Victoria's lifetime, Bertie (as he was called by his family) devoted himself to a life of pleasure. Despite his 1863 marriage to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, with whom he had six children, he was infamous for his many mistresses and playboy lifestyle. As king, Edward VII was popular with his people and abroad, but he reigned for only nine years before dying in 1910. He was succeeded by his oldest surviving son, King George V.


      Anzac Memorial
      The work of local Art Deco architect C. Bruce Dellit, featuring the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a reflecting pool. Built to commemorate all Australians killed in wars, it features a downstairs photographic and military memorabilia exhibition. The 30 metre high memorial is made of reinforced concrete and faced by red granite from Bathurst. The sculptures are the work of Raynor Hoff (1894-1937), an art instructor at Sydney Technical College who himself served in France during World War I. The Hall of Memory is faced with white marble and features a dome ceiling decorated with 120,000 stars, representing each volunteer who enlisted during World War I. The Hall focuses on a bronze statue (below) by Hoff featuring a dead soldier carried on a shield by his mother, sister, wife and child. The outdoor Lake of Reflection is lined by poplars from Northern France. Pines and shrubs from Gallipoli, Turkey, line other approaches. Location: Hyde Park.

      Masonic War Memorial
      Located near the corner of Park and Elizabeth streets, it is probably the best-kept war monument in Sydney. It commemorates the 3010 members of Masonic Lodges who volunteered to fight in the Great War of 1914 to 1919. 501 of them 'made the supreme sacrifice' - one in every six men who volunteered to fight in the war, was killed. This showed the enormity of the tragedy.


      Boer War Memorial
      A stone memorial, erected in 1902 on Observatory Hill near the rotunda, the Boer War Memorial honours Australian servicemen who served in the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902).


      Pioneer Women Memorial
      A small bronze figure, erected in 1938, and created by British artist Paul Montford (1868-1938) located in the Memorial Garden to the Pioneer Women. The garden is built on the site of the Garden Palace Exhibition Building which was erected in 1879 to house the international exhibition of 1879. location: Loftus Street.


      Dreadnought Boys Memorial
      A wall plate behind the Orient Hotel in Kendall Lane, it commemorates the Dreadnought Scheme which brought out 5,595 boys aged 14 to 18 to Sydney as apprentices. The first boys arrived in 1911. The memorial was erected by the Dreadnought Old Boys Association in 1984.


Captain Phillip Fountain
A huge fountain, erected in 1897 on the site of the former Garden Palace Exhibition Building after it burnt to the ground. commemorating NSWs first governor, Arthur Phillip, it is the work of Italian sculptor Achille Simonetti, whose work was cast in Florence by F. Galli. It is in the Botanical Gardens near the Garden Palace Gates entrance to the Gardens. This elaborate fountain/memorial, the only one in Sydney to honour Phillip, was erected as part of the Queen Victoria Jubilee Celebrations. The larger than life statue of Phillip features him holding a scroll, with a flag furled by his side, facing Sydney Heads, perhaps looking for the Second Fleet which took so long coming from England. around the plinth are white marble basins with water jets, bronze reliefs representing Patriotism, Education and Justice, flanked by Agriculture, Cyclops, Commerce and King Neptune. To complete the picture are paired dolphins and bronze plaques featuring Aborigines.


Captain Arthur Phillip
A bronze bust of the first governor of NSW, Arthur Phillip, who was in charge of the First Fleet and the establishment of the colony of New South Wales on the shores of Sydney Cove in January 1788. Originally unveiled in 1954, the bust was relocated to First Government House Place outside the Museum of Sydney and unveiled on the 28th August 2014 to commemorate the bicentenary of the death of Admiral Arthur Phillip.


William Bligh
As an early governor of the Colony of New South Wales, he attempted to put a stop to the powers of the corrupt New South Wales "Rum Corps", but was arrested by members of the New South Wales and removed from office. He was sent back to England where he was exonerated by the British Government. The Rum Rebellion of 1808 was the only successful armed takeover of government in Australian history. Bligh is better remembered for another mutiny - The Mutiny on The Bounty (28th April 1789) in which Fletcher Christian and his cronies mutinied and abandoned Bligh and his supporters into a long boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Bligh shows his remarkable capability as a navigator by getting the boat and occupants safely back to The Dutch East Indies.


Sir Richard Bourke
This statue, located outside the Mitchell Library, is significant in that it was the first statue of its kind to be erected in Australia (1842). Created by EH Bailly, it honours Sir Richard Bourke, Governor of the colony of New South Wales from December 3, 1831 to December 5, 1837. A rather lengthy description of Bourke's career is inscribed on the statue's plinth. Bourke was an Irishman and a fully qualified barrister who was perhaps the most popular of all the colonial Governors. He brought many changes to the colony, not the least being his introduction of the British system of trial by jury, which effectively replaced the rule of military justice that had been in force since 1788. Bourke was an adventurous, energetic man, a trait reflected in the considerable amount of exploration of the Australian continent that was instigated during his term of office. He is also remembered for giving financial support to the various church denominations represented in Sydney. It was as a result of his generosity toward them that most of the churches of inner Sydney were built during his term of office.


Lachlan Macquarie
This memorial to the man who left his name on more roads and geographical features than anyone else stands in the grounds of Parliament House. The small, modern statue honours one of New South Wales' most famous governors who, during his term of office (1810-1821), turned Sydney from a backwater convict prison to a developing civic-minded community.


WB Dalley
A life size statue of William Beade Dalley, who was an influential lawyer, orator and politician. He was Australia's first Privy Councillor, he acted as Premier of NSW in 1885, and was a member of the Privy Council during his lifetime. The statue commemorating the son of a convict was erected by public subscription.


Thomas Sutcliffe Mort
Mort is remembered as one of Sydney's leading lights in the business world of 19th Century Sydney. He arrived in the colony in 1838 when he was in his twenties. When his employer went to the wall, Mort went out on his own, carving out a name for himself as a leading importer/exporter, who is still remembered in Sydney's nomenclature - Mortdale, Mort's Dock and Goldsborough Mort. The statue, the work of sculptor Pierce F. Connolly, was erected after Mort's death and was unveiled in June 1883 by the Governor, Lord Loftus. It is located over the road from the office where he spent most of his working life on the site of a drinking fountain erected by Governor Macquarie to a design by Francis Greenway.


Dr John Dunmore Lang
Dr Lang was a Presbyterian minister who had a major impact on life in 19th Century Sydney. Born in 1799 at Greenock, Scotland, Lang was persuaded to emigrate to Australia by his younger, brother George, a settler from the old country who shared with his brother the moral degradation he believed existed in colonial New South Wales. Lang arrived in the colony early in 1823 and spent the next fifty years in a high profile war against sin and degradation. Every one from the Governor down came under his wrath if he believed them to be acting out of line. Lang won many major victories during his term as a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly from 1859 to 1864, He also had a major impact on the growth and the development of Sydney when he relieved the colony's shortage of skilled tradesmen, particularly stonemasons by soliciting 50 tradesman from his homeland of Scotland to build his Australian College in College Street on a site now occupied by the Australian Museum. The statue is in Wynyard Park above Wynyard Station.
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  • William Shakespeare
    The entry roadway to the Eastern Distributor Motorway from Macquarie Street is known as Shakespeare Place, because of a rather elaborate group of statues on the traffic island in the middle of the road. The statues feature playwright William Shakespeare, quill in hand, surrounded by some of his characters such as Hamlet, Falstaff, Dorta, Romeo and Juliet (in an embrace). The bronze statues are the work of Australian sculptor Sir Bertram MacKennal (1826-1931) who also designed the Martin Place Cenotaph (1929) and Phoebes driving the horses of the sun above the entrance to Australia House in The Strand, London. When it was unveiled, the memorial was located in front of the main entrance of the Mitchell Library as if to lure passers by to come inside for a good read. When the Cahill Expressway was built, the memorial was in its path and had to be moved to its present site.


James Cook
Hyde Park is home to a plethora of statues, fountains and memorials, yet none has a history as interesting as the statue of Lieutenant James Cook, the famous British Navigator who explored the east coast of Australia in 1770. The statue was erected in 1879 to mark the hundredth anniversary of Cook's death in Hawaii. Its creator was Thomas Woolner, an Englishman who had come to Australia in the hope of striking it rich in the Gold Rush in 1852 but had returned to England two years later after failing to find gold. Whilst the statue's arrival from England was a major event in Sydney, the story surrounding its huge granite base is far more dramatic and noteworthy.
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  • Daniel Solander
    A bronze bust commemorating the first visit to Australian by a Swede. Solander was a member of James Cook's expedition aboard HMS Endeavour, which visited Botany Bay in April 1770. Solander was a leading botanist of his day. The monument was unveiled in 1982 by the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gusaf, while visiting Australia. Another monument to Solander stands at Captain Cook's Landing Place in Kurnell near where Solander first came ashore


    Matthew Flinders
    Undoubtedly the foremost explorer and hydrographer of the Australian coastline, Matthew Flinders carried out several important and daring voyages of discovery along coastal portions of the land now known as Australia. He was the first to consistently use the term Australia, and it was at his recommendation that it was officially adopted, something that would have guaranteed him a place in history apart from his many other achievements. Additionally he was first to prove that the eastern and western sections of Australia were connected, that Tasmania was an island and his work gave the map of Australia its final shape. Interestingly, Matthew Flinders is believed to have been an accomplished flute player, unusual for a Royal Navy Commander. On the windowsill of the State Library behind him is a bronze statue of his cat and travelling companion, Trim.


    First Impressions Monument
    A memorial to the European pioneers - a soldier, farmer and convict - who founded Sydney, many of whom lived in The Rocks. A larger than life sculpture of a reminder of European settlement. The monument stands in The Rocks Square, an area where many colonial era migrants had their first taste of life in Australia.


    William Dobell
    The Dobell Memorial Sculpture in Martin Place, Sydney, is he work of Bert Flugelman. This stainless steel sculpture depicts upended cubes. A tribute to artist William Dobell, it was funded by donation by from artist Lloyd Rees and public subscription.


    Sir Leslie Morshead
    The Sir Leslie Morshead memorial fountain is located opposite the State Library, and honours Sir Leslie Moreshead (1889-1959) who was a Gallipoli Anzac during World War I and commanded Australian troops in the Siege of Tobruk, Libya, in World War II. He is considered to rival John Monash for the appellation of Australia's greatest general. The memorial, a circle of 36 water sprays, is the work of Robert Woodward, who also designed the El Alamein fountain in Kings Cross.


    Robert Burns
    A statue of one of Scotland's most famous sons, poet Robert Burns, was erected on a stone pedestal of Melbourne granite in 1905 for the Burns Memorial Committee by Englishman Frederick Pomeroy. It is appropriately located in what was known as Speaker's Corner in The Domain, where in years gone by crowds gathered on Sunday afternoons to listen to speakers of all descriptions saying their piece.


    Henry Lawson
    Not far away from Robert Burns in The Domain is a statue of one of Australia's most celebrated writers and poets, Henry Lawson. Erected in 1931, it depicts Lawson beside a bushman with his swag and dog, a reference to his well loved humorous tale, The Loaded Dog. The last sculpture of Lawson's friend, artist George Washington Lambert, it was cast in bronze by AB Burton in London.


    Sir John Robertson
    A life size bronze statue of the five times Premier of New South Wales and member of the first Legislative Assembly in 1856, Sir John Robertson, is located near the Art Gallery of NSW. As Lands Minister, Sir John Robertson who, as Lands Minister, approved the opening of the Domain at night to pedestrians in 1860. The statue, paid for by public subscription, was unveiled in 1904.


    Lewis Wolfe Levy
    An Art Nouveau fountain by CB Birch surmounted with a bronze statue of a water nymph with a heron and reeds and frogs at the base. The water nymph in the statue is believed to represent Diana, goddess of purity. The base is of red and grey granite which was cut and polished in Cornwall, England. The fountain was commissioned by the family of politician and businessman Lewis Wolfe Levy in 1889. Levy (1815-85) was a Jewish businessman and philanthropist who migrated from London in 1880. location: Royal Botanical Gardens.


    Allan Cunningham
    Located near the Gardens Restaurant in the Botanical Gardens is a sandstone obelisk to Allan Cunningham, the Garden's Superintendent in 1837. A botanist and explorer, he is credited with having discovered Queensland's Darling Downs. His ashes are buried beneath the monument.

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