Melbourne Sculptures | Historical & Political

Melbourne has an impressive number of statues and sculptures that are on public display throughout the city, with themes ranging from historical and religious icons to playful statues that represent Australian children's literature.

Like silent citizens of Melbourne, it's often easy to let Melbourne's many statues and sculptures fall into the background without considering the rich history behind the identities and themes they represent and also the artists behind these great monuments that we often take for granted.

Melbourne James Cook
Melbourne Mary Gilbert
Melbourne Olive Zakharov
Melbourne John Batman
Melbourne Eight Hour Day
Melbourne Sidney Myer
Melbourne Adam Lindsay Gordon
Melbourne Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller
Melbourne Queen Victoria
Melbourne Burke and Wills
Melbourne King George V - Britannia
Melbourne Edward VII
Melbourne Matthew Flinders
Melbourne Earl of Hopetoun & Marquess of Linlithgow
Melbourne John Pascoe Fawkner

To learn more about Melbourne's sculptures and statues, here's a who's who of the many historical figures in Melbourne's landscape with the stories behind the stonework and the myths behind the masonry..

Historical & Political Sculptures


Captain James Cook


by Marc Clark, 1974
Located at Fitzroy Gardens
    Captain James Cook (1728 to 1779) was an English explorer, navigator and cartographer, who rose to the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy. The first to map Newfoundland, Cook would later make three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands as well as making the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

    James Cook was only a teenager when he joined the British merchant navy, and later joined the Royal Navy in 1755. While taking part in the Seven Years' War, he surveyed and mapped a great deal of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River during the siege of Quebec, allowing his superior, General Wolfe, to make his famous stealth attack on the Plains of Abraham. It was this contribution to the campaign by Cook and that drew the attention of the Admiralty and Royal Society, leading to a turn in his personal career toward overseas exploration. He was commissioned the following year in 1766 as commander of the HM Bark Endeavour, which was used for the first of Cook's three Pacific voyages.

    Charting many areas and recording several islands and coastlines of Europeans' maps for the first time, James Cook was regarded as an exemplary explorer, known for his great seamanship and skills in surveying and cartography. Displaying great courage during his explorations Cook would go to extreme lengths to confirm the facts of his recordings, often exceeding the expectations required of him by the Admiralty. It was this boldness that led to his death on his third and final Pacific voyage when he was killed during a fight with Hawaiians in 1779.

Mary Gilbert


by Ailsa O'Connor, 1974
Located at Fitzroy Gardens Conservatory
    Mary Gilbert has the distinct honour of being the first European woman to live in the Port Phillip settlement of Melbourne and also the first to give birth to a child in the newly formed district. Married to James Gilbert, a blacksmith, the Gilberts were pioneer settlers who disembarked on the banks of the Yarra River and set up camp on 30 August 1835, having travelled to mainland Australia other settlers from Launceston, Tasmania upon the Enterprize, a schooner owned by John Pascoe Fawkner.

    John Fawkner himself did not arrive with them, despite being the owner of the boat. During their journey from Tasmania the Enterprize was buffeted by rough seas and forced to dock at George Town in Northern Tasmania, where John Fawkner left the ship. Other members of the initial landing party that remained on the voyage included Captain John Lancey Master Mariner, George Evans a builder, William Jackson and Robert Marr who were carpenters, Charles Wyse a farmhand, three servants, Thomas Morgan, Even Evans and a cat owned by James and Mary Gilbert. Supplies taken on their voyage included two horses, pigs, poultry, dogs, trees, seeds, food and grog.

    It was shortly after their arrival on 29 December in 1835 that Mary gave birth to her son, James Port Phillip Gilbert. Following the birth, Mary Gilbert was given was given 500 acres of land and a town allotment.

Tribute to Olive Zakharov


Designed by Chimera Collections, 2002
Located at Olive's Corner on Liardet Street, Port Melbourne
    Alice Olive Zakharov, born in 1929 was an Australian politician who tragically died on March 6, 1995. Elected as an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian Senate in 1983, Zakharov entrered the political arena relatively late in life.

    Zakharov subsequently sought pre-selection to run as a Labor Senate candidate in Victoria at the double dissolution 1983 federal election. She received the fifth position on the Labor ticket, and easily swept into parliament in the landslide Labor victory, taking the final position well ahead of her nearest rival, Democrat John Siddons. She soon established herself as a loyal member of the Socialist Left faction and as an advocate for equal rights for women and the rights of the disadvantaged. This early advocacy for progressive causes brought her the second ever Australian Humanist of the Year award in 1984.

    In November 1993, Zakharov publicly revealed that she had been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her deceased husband for ten years prior to their separation. She launched the government's Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women, and urged other victims and their neighbours to speak up. She said at the time that she had kept silent because "There were no alternatives. There were no refuges for women, no supporting parent's benefit and almost no child care. I made the break when my youngest was old enough to go to school so I could work."

    Born in Kew, Melbourne, before her role in the Senate Olive Zakharov studied psychology as part of an arts degree at Melbourne University. It was during her studies that she joined the local branch of the Communist Party of Australia. She later learned that her involvement with the party had gained the attention of ASIO, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

    She was married for a brief time while at university, but after separating from her husband in 1949 she soon moved to Yallourn to live with her new partner, unionist John Zakharov. Marrying for a second time, she began a family with John Zakharov and spent many years a young woman juggling family commitments with several jobs that included market research interviewer, clerk, waitress, mail officer, psychiatric nurse and pathology assistant, all the while maintaining an active contribution to her local branch of the Australian Labor Party.

    In 1968, after the last of her children had reached primary school, Zakharov separated from her husband, and later divorced him, though she retained his surname. Raising the children alone, in 1969 she took a role as a student welfare co-ordinator at Melbourne's Montmorency Secondary College. Again displaying a remarkable ability to juggle a great number of priorities, she also served as president of her local party branch, was a delegate to the party's state conference, and during the 1970s she was offered a safe Labor seat in the Parliament of Victoria, but declined the offer for family reasons.

    Entering politics in the 1980s, she was re-elected in 1984, 1987, and 1993. It was during her final term in the Senate in 1995 when she was sadly struck by a car on February 12, while crossing St Kilda road after leaving the Midsumma gay and lesbian festival. She lay in a coma for more than a month, but did not regain consciousness. While in hospital, the Coalition arranged a pair, so as not to take advantage of Zakharov's injuries in a closely divided Senate. Having never regained consciousness, Zakharov died on March 19. No charges were laid regarding the accident.

    Upon her death, the Senate adjourned early and several red roses, the symbol of the international socialist movement, were placed upon her desk as a mark of respect. More than two hours of condolence speeches were delivered in parliament, and after her funeral on March 30, a memorial plaque was unveiled in the courtyard at Parliament House.

    Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe attempted to convince the state Kennett government to save the historic Missions to Seamen building in Port Melbourne, which Zakharov had been fighting to save, as a memorial to her, but the request was unsuccessful. The memorial to her in a park in Bay Street, Port Melbourne was unveiled in March 2002.

    Among her many achievements both in life and politics, Zakharov also had the honour in 1988 of being the only Western politician invited to witness the first destruction of nuclear weapons at a ceremony in the Soviet Union after the signing of a disarmament agreement. Upon returning from Russia, she described the occasion as, 'the chance of a thousand lifetimes.'

John Batman


by Stanley Hammond, 1978
Located on Collins Street
    John Batman, one of Melbourne's founders, was born in Parramatta, New South Wales, in 1801. The son of William Batman, who came to Sydney in 1797, John Batman and his brother, Henry, travelled to Tasmania in 1821where they took up land in the north-east near Ben Lomond.

    While in Tasmania, Batman initially spent his time farming on granted land, but later expanded his holdings, purchasing other land. During his time in Tasmania, he was also responsible for the capture of a notorious bushranger named, Matthew Brady.

    Seeking land grants in the Western Port area of Victoria, Batman's request was rejected by the colonial authorities, so in 1835, as a leading member of the Port Phillip Association he sailed for the mainland in the schooner Rebecca and explored much of Port Phillip Bay.

    Famous for negotiating with the local Aborigines, the Wurundjeri people, Batman arranged a treaty, now known as Batman's Treaty, to rent their land on an annual basis for 40 blankets, 30 axes, 100 knives, 50 scissors, 30 mirrors, 200 handkerchiefs, 100 pounds of flour and 6 shirts. It's often debated as to whether or not the Wurundjeri people would have understood this transfer of land or agreed to it if they had, but in any case, the Governor of New South Wales deemed such a treaty as invalid, claiming that the land was owned by the Crown rather than the Aborigines.

    Batman and his family settled at what became known as Batman's Hill at the end of Collins Street, building a house at the base in April 1836, where he lived until his death. Batman's health quickly declined after 1835, and he became estranged from his wife, convict Elizabeth Callaghan. They had had seven daughters and a son who drowned in the Yarra River. In his last months, it's said Batman was cared for by the local Aborigines and following his death his widow and family moved from the house at Batman's Hill when the government requisitioned the house for government offices.

    Buried in the Old Melbourne Cemetery, a memorial remains there, however Batman later exhumed and re-buried in the Fawkner Cemetery, named after his fellow colonist John Pascoe Fawkner.

    Along with several statues around Melbourne that commemorate John Batman, there is also the railway station in North Coburg and a bridge in Northern Tasmania which are named after him.

Eight Hour Day


by Percival Ball, 1903
Located at Queens Park
    The Eight Hour Day was a campaign in the 1850's that brought about one of the most important changes to the rights of workers. There were two major campaigns that took place, both in Sydney and Melbourne, but it's the Melbourne movement that is widely known for successfully changing the general rights of workers for the better.

    In 1856 on April 21st, Victorian Stonemasons staged a well-organised and executed protest. The Stonemasons had been working on the construction of the Old Quadrangle Building, the original site of Melbourne University, when they all downed their tools and proceeded to march on to Parliament House along with other members of the building trade.

    During the march held in Melbourne, those attending the protest carried banners that held the symbol of three figure 8's. The intertwined numbers '888' represented the ideal that the workers were fighting for - '8 Hours Work, 8 Hours Recreation, 8 Hours Rest'. Coined as early as 1817 by Robert Owen, an English Socialist, the significant motif of this slogan would later adorn the pediment of many of Australia's union buildings.

    Following the success of the Eight Hour Day protest, the Stonemasons celebrated that year with a holiday and procession held on Monday 12th of May, known as the the Whit-Monday holiday then. Inspiring all that benefited from the new law, the parade saw almost 700 people take part in the march, with patrons of the parade holding backgrounds in as many as 19 trades.

    Travelling from the Carlton Gardens to the Cremorne Gardens in Richmond, the march was a festive event with workers marching proudly with decorative banners alongside floats and bands performing.

Sidney Myer


by Michael Mezaros, 2001
Located at Sidney Myer Music Bowl
    Sidney Baevski Myer was an Australian businessman and philanthropist. Born under the name, Simcha Myer Baevski in 1878, Myer was originally from Kritchev in Russian Poland, now known as Belarus. The son of a Jewish storekeeper, he migrated to Melbourne in 1899 to join his elder brother, Elcon Myer.

    With sparse money and knowing very little English, Myer was determined to make a good life in Australia and established a shop in Bendigo with his brother. The store proved unsuccessful, but Myer was undeterred and instead took his goods, which included stockings and laces, to sell them door to door. Despite the hurdle of having poor English speaking skills, Myer managed to sell his wares and used the money he'd earned to purchase a cart that took him through other country towns to sell his goods.

    Moving his business to Pall Mall in Bendigo, his store this time flourished, prospering enough that Myer was able to add other shops and also buy the Bendigo business of Craig Williamson and Thomas. Going from strength to strength financially, in 1911 Myer purchased the business of Wright and Neil, Drapers that were located in Bourke Street near the General Post Office. A new building was completed and opened in 1914, The Doveton woollen mills at Ballarat were purchased in 1918, and in 1921 a new building that fronted Post Office Place in Melbourne was made, establishing what became the first chain of Myer department stores.

    After purchasing the established businesses of Robertson and Moffat and Stephens and Son, another new building was begun in 1925 on the Lonsdale Street with a separate building in Queensberry Street erected in 1928. Buying up yet more businesses that included china importers and house furnishers, the businesses were transferred to the Bourke Street building and by 1934 Myer's company was employing 5300 people, providing medical and nursing aid for the staff, and even rest homes at the seaside and in the Dandenong Ranges.

    Already proving himself to be as compassionate as he was shrewd, during the Depression of the 1930s Myer felt a profound responsibility to assist the community, feeling that it was they themselves that he owed his success to. In the face of Australia's greatest economic crisis, Myer had the wages of all staff, including himself, cut back to avoid having to terminate the employment of any workers. He also personally financed relief work with a sum of 22,000 pounds, provide employment opportunities for those in dire straits during the Depression. For the unemployed at Christmas he also financed a Christmas dinner for 10,000 people at the Royal Exhibition Building, offering a gift for every child that attended.

    In spite of raising concerns with many friends and associates that the Myer business would fall afoul as it was developing too fast, the company proved to be more than prosperous, swiftly recovering from the Depression, when Myer died suddenly on September 5th in 1934.

    He was married twice, firstly in 1905 to Hannah Nance Flegeltaub (1868-1963). Following a divorce in 1919 he married Margery Merlyn Baillieu, who survived him with two sons and two daughters.

    Myer's generosity and ambitious spirit drew a staggering crowd of 100,000 people who attended his funeral. Leaving a will that was proved at £922,000, the Sidney Myer Charitable Trust was established, now known as the Sidney Myer Fund, to continue Myer's compassionate tradition of philanthropy. The most famous philanthropic funding was for the construction of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in the Kings Domain in 1958.

Adam Lindsay Gordon


by Paul Montford, 1932
Located at Gordon Reserve
    Adam Lindsay Gordon was an Australian poet, jockey and politician who was born in 1833 at Fayal in the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. His father, Captain Adam Durnford Gordon, who had married his first cousin, Harriet Gordon, had been staying in the Azores for the sake of his wife's health before they returned to England to live in Cheltenham.

    It was there in 1847 that Adam Lindsay Gordon entered Cheltenham College, but was sent to a school in Gloucestershire the following year. There soon followed a trend of Gordon proving to be a difficult student who was certainly good at sports but appeared to have had no interest in serious studies. He attended the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, but was asked to leave and returned to Cheltenham College which he left again in 1852. After attending the Royal Grammar School of Worcester he began to live a rather reckless life, contracting debts and displaying behaviour that concerned his father so much that he gave Gordon a letter of introduction to the Governor of Australia and sent him there in 1853 to join the mounted Police.

    A testament to Gordon's impassioned and rather erratic nature, before leaving England he professed his love to the 17 year old girl, Jane Bridges, only shortly before leaving for Australia. Upon bidding her farewell he told her of his romantic interests, saying that he'd ignore his father's demands and stay if she would accept him. Although Miss Bridges was fond of Gordon, who was a shy and handsome young man, she couldn't accept his offer.

    Just over 20 when he arrived at Adelaide on 14 November 1853, Gordon immediately obtained a position in the South Australian mounted police and was stationed at Mount Gambier and Penola. He resigned from the force late in 1855, however, and took up horse-breaking in the south-eastern district of South Australia, recapturing an interest in horse-racing that he had held while in England.

    In 1857 Gordon met the Rev. Julian Tenison Woods who shared a passion for poetry and lent him many books on the subject, and also helped in Gordon's growing reputation as 'a good steady lad and a splendid horseman'. It was during this year that Gordon's father passed away, with his mother's death following two years later. By this time he was making quite a name for himself as a rider over hurdles, and several times he either won or was placed in local hurdle races and steeplechases.

    Marrying Margaret Park, then a girl of 17, in 1862, he later bought a cottage, Dingley Dell, near Port MacDonnell in 1864. It was during this year that Gordon was inspired by the engravings of an artist, Noel Paton, that he wrote a poem called The Feud, of which 30 copies were printed. The following year in 1865 Gordon received a deputation asking him to stand for parliament and was elected by three votes to the South Australian House of Assembly.

    Proving to be as much of a maverick in the political arena as he was during his school days, Gordon was known for his semi-classical speeches that were regarded as colourful and entertaining, but mostly irrelevant. He resigned his seat in 1866 when his time spent as a political orator inspired him to return to his greater passions of poetry, speculation and also horse racing.

    Gordon's daughter was born on in May of 1867 and during this year and the next he moved several more times, spending time in both Western Australia and Mount Gambier before moving to Victoria. Having grown far more prolific with his writing during this time, publishing numerous poems, Gordon chose to live in Ballarat rather than Melbourne, which had never accepted his literature as other places had.

    The year of 1868 was a sad one for Gordon, tainted by failure and tragedy. In Ballarat he rented Craig's livery stables along with a partner, Harry Mount, but he had no head for business and the venture proved to be a failure. During that year his daughter died at the age of 11 months, and he had a serious accident when a horse smashed his head against a gatepost in his own yard. With his financial situation growing even more dire, Gordon he fell into very low spirits but still pursued his passion for riding, winning three races in one day at the Melbourne Hunt Club steeplechase meeting despite being hampered by short sightedness.

    Later in 1868, having failed with both his business in Ballarat and his attempts to make money through racing, Gordon came to Melbourne and eventually found lodgings in Brighton. His luck seemed to have picked up following the move and his financial affairs and spirit were both lifted somewhat.

    In March of 1870, however, Gordon was met with yet another serious head injury when he had a bad fall while riding in a steeplechase at Flemington Racecourse. His head injury was so severe that he never fully recovered and wasn't the same man again, leading to unfair rumours that he'd taken to being a drunkard, which wasn't the case at all.

    That same year he published his last book, Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes. Released on 23 June 1870, Gordon spoke with a fellow poet on that day, Henry Kendall, who showed him the proof of a favourable review he had written for the Australasian. This news from Kendall was little consolation for Gordon, who had just returned from his publishers where he'd asked what he owed for printing the book, realising he had no money to pay them. He went home to his cottage in Brighton carrying a package of cartridges for his rifle, and the following morning he rose early, walked into the tea-tree scrub and shot himself. In his wake, the book didn't do well at the time, but is now considered to be one of the most important pieces of Australian literature.

    Having lived a relatively tragic life, Gordon drew the most attention posthumously and there are many tributes to him including a monument over his Brighton grave that was erected in 1870, the statue near parliament house in Melbourne and many other statues and monuments throughout Australia. Gordon also has the esteemed honour of being the only Australian poet to have a bust placed in the famed Poets' Corner of England's Westminster Abbey.

    Interestingly, and perhaps in line with the misfortunes that plagued Gordon's later life, when Queen Elizabeth II delivered her Christmas Message in 1992, that trying year for the Royals that was infamously known as their Annus Horribillis, she quoted from one of Gordon's more famous poems saying, 'Kindness in another's trouble, courage in one's own,' but unfortunately she failed to attribute the quote to Gordon's name.

Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller


by Marc Clark, 1985
Located at Royal Botanic Gardens
    Baron Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller, (take a deep breath now if you said that out loud) was a German-Australian physician and geographer, but is most widely known for his work as a botanist.

    Born in Rostock, Germany in 1825, Mueller was raised by his grandparents following the early death of his parents. Given a good education in Tönning, Schleswig, he apprenticed to a chemist at only 15, passing the pharmaceutical examinations and also studying botany. At the age of 21 he received his degree of Doctor of Philosophy for a thesis on the flora of Schleswig-Holstein.

    In 1847, having been advised to go to a warmer climate, he sailed for Australia with his two sisters from Bremen. It is said that while on the ship he had already fished the first plants out of the water to analyse them.

    Arriving at Adelaide, he found employment as a chemist and soon obtained 20 acres of land not far from Adelaide, but after living on it for only several months returned to his interest in botany and travelled through the colony from 1848 to 1852, moving to Melbourne during this time in 1851 and discovering and describing a large number of plants previously unknown to Western science.

    In 1853 he was appointed as the Government Botanist for Victoria by Governor Charles La Trobe, a position that was specially created for Mueller, and he explored the Alpine regions of Australia, examining newly-found vegetation. Having explored the Buffalo Ranges, Muller then explored the upper reaches of the Goulburn River and across Gippsland to the coast. Along with Port Albert and Wilson's Promontory, in all some 1500 miles were explored by Mueller along the coast to Melbourne. In that same year, he established the National Herbarium of Victoria, which can still be visited today and has many plants from Australia and abroad, many of which were collected by Mueller.

    From 1854 to 1872, Mueller was a member of the Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science, which later became the Philosophical Institute of Victoria. He was President of the Philosophical Institute in 1859 when it received a Royal Charter and became the Royal Society of Victoria. He was also an active member of the Society's 'Exploration Committee' which established the Burke and Wills expedition of 1860, and while rather influential in the establishment, provisioning and composition of the exploration party, Mueller but did not at all favour the selection of Burke as the exploration party's leader.

    During this time Mueller was also director of Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens until 1873, introducing many plants into Victoria while also raising the profile of Australia's blue gum across the world, introducing it into the south of Europe, North and South Africa, and as far as California and South America. His services in this saw Mueller decorated by many foreign countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and Portugal.

    The benefactor of another explorer, Ernest Giles who discovered Lake Amadeus near Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta the Olga Rocks in the Northern Territory, Giles had initially wanted wanted to name these Lakes Ferdinand and Mt Mueller, but Mueller suggested he name them Lake Amadeus, after King Amadeus of Spain, and Mt Olga, after Queen Olga of Württemberg, both of whom had granted him the title of Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller in 1871 to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

    By 1873, there was some controversy surrounding Mueller's appointment with the Royal Botanic Gardens when influential Melburnians grew critical of Mueller's scientific and educational methods. In April 1873, Mueller created the genus Guilfoylia, honouring his successor as Director of the Botanic Gardens, but his opinion of Guilfoyle soon soured and he accused Guilfoyle of being merely a 'nurseryman' who had no claims to scientific knowledge whatsoever.

    Such was his disregard for his fellow botanist, that Mueller later abolished Guilfoylia as part of the plant genus of Cadellia in his botanical census of 1882. Ironically, it was Guilfoyle who soon went on to reshape the gardens into the aesthetic style that Melburnians enjoy today.

Queen Victoria


by James White, 1907
Located at Queen Victoria Gardens
    Infamously known for her alleged romance with a servant, Mr Brown, Alexandrina Victoria was born in 1819 and became the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in June of 1837, and the first Empress of India from in 1876. She held these titles until her death in 1901, with her reign as Queen lasting 63 years and seven months, longer than that of any other British monarch to date, inspiring the name of that era known as the Victorian era. (You kids out there may have heard of that while channel surfing past the Antiques Roadshow)

    Although she took the throne at a time when tides had changed and the United Kingdom's already established monarchy held few political powers, Victoria still served as a very important symbolic figure of her time. The Victorian era represented the height of the Industrial Revolution, a period of sweeping changes socially and economically when there was a great expansion of the British Empire as the foremost global power of the time.

    The granddaughter of George III and a descendant of most major European royal houses, Victoria arranged marriages for her nine children and forty two grandchildren across the continent, tying Europe together in an endeavour that earned her the nickname of 'the grandmother of Europe.'

    In 1861 when her husband Prince Albert died of typhoid fever his death devastated Victoria, who entered a state of mourning and wore black for the remainder of her life. She avoided public appearances and rarely set foot in London in the following years with her seclusion earning her a more unfortunate nickname of the 'Widow of Windsor'. She blamed her son Edward, the Prince of Wales, for his father's death, since news of the Prince's poor conduct had come to his father in November, leading Prince Albert to travel to Cambridge to confront his son shortly before Prince Albert fell ill.

    Victoria's self-imposed isolation from the public greatly diminished the popularity of the monarchy, and even encouraged the growth of the republican movement. Although she continued to undertake her official government duties, she chose to remain secluded in her royal residences, Balmoral Castle in Scotland, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and Windsor Castle.

    Before her death in 1901, Victoria began to spend a great deal of time with her manservant from Scotland, John Brown. When Victoria's remains were laid in the coffin, two sets of mementos were placed with her, at her request. By her side was placed one of Albert's dressing gowns while in her left hand was placed a piece of Brown's hair, along with a picture of him.

    It was only revealed in 2008 that Victoria's body wore the wedding ring of John Brown's mother, placed on her hand after her death, reinvigorating long held suspicions of an affair and secret marriage to her servant that earned her a third nickname of 'Mrs Brown.'

Burke and Wills


by Charles Summers, 1865
Currently (2017-2022) in storage*.

The Burke and Wills memorial (unveiled in 1865) is the oldest and most historically significant piece of public art in Melbourne .

    Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills were the leaders of an expedition of 19 men that set out in 1860 with the intention of crossing Australia from Melbourne in the south to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north. Aiming to travel a distance of around 2,800 kilometres, at that time most of the inland of Australia had not been explored by European settlers.

    The planning of the expedition began in 1857 when the Philosophical Institute of Victoria formed an Exploration Committee, hoping to investigate the practicability of fitting out an exploring expedition. While interest in inland exploration was strong in the neighbouring colonies of New South Wales and South Australia, in Victoria enthusiasm was limited. Even an anonymous donation of £1,000 to the Fund Raising Committee of the Royal Society failed to generate much interest and it wasn't until 1860 that sufficient money had been raised to assemble the expedition. Greater interest would have certainly been taken in the proposal after the South Australian government had offered a reward of £2000 in July 1859 for the first successful south-north crossing of the continent.

    While calling for offers of interest for a leader of The Victorian Exploring Expedition, they dispatched George James Landells to India to buy 24 camels for use in the desert, also purchasing six camels from George Coppin's Cremorne Gardens. Several people were considered for the post of leader and after severa; meetings the Society announced Burke as the leader, Landells as the second-in-command and Wills as third-in-command.

    Neither Burke nor Wills was experienced in exploration, and it is strange that they were chosen to lead the mission. Burke was an Irish-born ex-officer with the Austrian army, and later became police superintendent with virtually no skills in bushcraft. Wills was a surveyor and meteorologist. Wills was more adept than Burke at living in the wilderness, but it was Burke's leadership that was especially detrimental to the infamously flawed expedition.

    With an enormous amount of equipment that included 6 tonnes of firewood, a food supply to last two years, a cedar-topped oak camp table with two chairs, rockets, flags and allegedly a Chinese gong of all things, the equipment in all weighed as much as 20 tonnes. An offer was made by one Captain Francis Cadell to transport the supplies to Adelaide by ship and up the Murray and Darling Rivers, but Burke rather foolishly declined the offer, loading the provisions on to six wagons.

    On 20 August in 1860, while watched by around 15,000 spectators, the expedition set forth from Melbourne's Royal Park with 19 men, twenty-three horses, six wagons and twenty-seven camels - they declined the offer of twelve drummers drumming along with a partridge in a pear tree, apparently.

    Seemingly doomed from the start, one wagon broke down before they had even left Royal Park and by midnight of the first day the expedition had only made it as far as Essendon on the edge of Melbourne, where two more wagons broke down. An ominous start to their journey, the expedition had many more misfortunes in store for them.

    Infamously known as a flawed expedition, a good deal of Burke's misguided decisions would have been inspired by a fear that another explorer who was far more experienced, John McDouall Stuart, had also taken up the challenge aiming to gain the reward offered by the South Australian government. Concerned that Stuart might beat him to the north coast, Burke grew impatient with their slow progress and split up the group when they reached Menindee on October 12, taking eight men including himself and a smaller amount of equipment. His plan was to move quickly to Coopers Creek and wait for the others to catch up.

    They left Menindee on October 19, guided by William Wright who was appointed third-in-command. At Torowotto Swamp Wright returned to Menindee to bring up the remainder of the men and supplies while Burke continued on to Coopers Creek, arriving there on November 11 where they formed a depot at Camp 63. A plague of rats forced the men to move camp and they formed a second depot further downstream at Bullah Bullah Waterhole, Camp 65, where they erected a stockade and named the place Fort Wills.

    It was thought that Burke would wait at Coopers Creek until March of the following year when his group would have avoided travelling in the heat of summer, but Burke only waited until December 16. His eagerness getting the better of him yet again, he split his group again to make a dash for the Gulf of Carpentaria. Leaving William Brahe in charge of the Depot, Burke, Wills, John King and Charles Gray set off for the Gulf with only six camels, one horse and enough food for just three months.

    On 9 February 1861 they reached the Little Bynoe River, an arm of the Flinders River delta, and they couldn't continue further to the ocean with swampland blocking their way. Setting forth from Camp 119, Burke and Wills left the camels behind with King and Gray and attempted to make their way through the swamps but having made it only as far as 24 kilometres they decided to turn back. By this stage the small group was desperately short of supplies with only enough food for 5 weeks, while it would take them at least 10 weeks to return to Coopers Creek.

    On their way north, the weather had been hot and dry, but on the way back the wet season broke and the tropical monsoonal rains began. Having to abandon one camel in early March when it was unable to move, a further three camels were shot and eaten along the way, as was their only horse on April 10 when they had by this time reached the Diamantina River, south what's known as Birdsville today.

    Having to abandon equipment at several locations along their way, their temperament began to grow as dire as their chances of surviving. When Gray fell ill, his associates assumed that he was only pretending, and on March 25 on the Burke River near today's town of Boulia, Gray was caught stealing skilligolee, a type of watery porridge they had in supply still. Burke beat him for the theft, raising some debate about the severity of the beating and whether it contributed to Gray's death on April 17 of dysentery.

    With only three survivors left to the group, they stopped for a day to bury Gray and to recover their strength. By this time they were exptemely weak, suffering from hunger and exhaustion. Continuing on, they finally reached Coopers Creek on April 21, only to find the camp abandoned.

    The other group of the expedition, led by William Wright, was not without its own troubles. Intending to bring supplies up from Menindee to Coopers Creek, a lack of money and too few pack animals to carry the supplies meant that he had not set out until the end of January. Wright's delay subsequently resulted in him being blamed for the deaths of Burke and Wills.

    The hot weather and lack of water meant the party moved incredibly slowly, they were harassed by the Bandjigali and Karenggapa Murris, and three of the men, Dr Ludwig Becker, Charles Stone and William Purcell, died from malnutrition on the trip. On his way north, Wright camped at Koorliatto Waterhole on the Bulloo River while he tried to find Burke's tracks to Coopers Creek. While he was there he met Brahe, who was on his way back from the Cooper to Menindee.

    It turned out that while Burke had instructed Brahe and his men to remain at the depot camp at Cooper's Creek for three months, they had actually remained there for four months but by then they were running low on supplies and starting to feel the effects of scurvy. Believing that Burke would not be returning, Brahe had decided to leave Coopers Creek and return to Menindee. Before leaving, however, he had buried some provisions, carving a message on a tree to mark the spot in case Burke did in fact return.

    In a staggering example of the misfortunes that plagued the expedition, it was on the morning of Sunday 21 April in 1861 that Brahe and his men has left the depot at Coopers Creek and ironically it was that very evening that Burke, Wills and King returned to find the depot camp deserted. They dug up the cache of supplies, also finding a letter Brahe had written explaining their departure. Devastated, the three men and two remaining camels were exhausted and there would be no hope of them catching up to the main party.

    Deciding to rest and recuperate, Burke, Wills and King lived off the supplies Brahe had left before making an attempt to reach the furthest outposts of pastoral settlement in South Australia, at Mount Hopeless which would have required a journey of 240 kilometres southwest through the desert. Leaving a letter that explained their intentions, they reburied it in the cache under the tree Brahe had marked, but they failed to change the mark or alter the date that Brahe had also inscribed on the tree.

    On April 23 they set out into the Strzelecki Desert towards Mt Hopeless in an attempt to find rescue. Meanwhile, in another case of ill timing, Brahe and Wright had already decided to return to Coopers Creek with the supplies on the chance that Burke had returned. They arrived on May 8 when Burke, Wills and King were at this point 56 kilometres away. Because the mark upon the tree had not been changed, both Wright and Brahe assumed that Burke had not returned and retrieved the supplies left there. They left to rejoin the main party and return to Menindee.

    Soon after they had left the camp at Coopers Creek, Burke's group lost two more camels to exhaustion and they were unable to carry enough supplies to cross the Strzelecki Desert to Mt Hopeless. Returning again to Coopers Creek, even more exhausted, they had some luck when they encountered the local Aborigines, the Yandruwandha people, who gave them fish, beans called 'padlu' and a type of damper made from the ground seeds of the ngardu plant.

    Living on Coopers Creek, they survived on ngardu seeds and gifts of fish and baked rats from the Yandruwandha people. Towards the end of June 1861, having then regained some strength, they decided to return upstream to the Dig Tree to see if a rescue party had arrived. Wills became too weak to continue, so he was left behind at his own insistence at Breerily Waterhole with some food, water and shelter.

    Wills returned to the tree Brahe had marked, known today as the Dig Tree, where he placed his diary, notebook and journals in the cache for safekeeping. Burke's journal recorded that he was bitterly critical of Brahe for not leaving behind any supplies or animals.

    The three men lived on Coopers Creek, collecting ngardu seeds and accepting gifts of fish and baked rats from the Yandruwandha. Towards the end of June 1861, they decided to return upstream again to the Dig Tree to see if a rescue party had arrived. Wills became too weak to continue, so he was left behind at his own insistence with some food, water and shelter.

    Burke died at the end of June 1861. The exact date is unknown, but it's generally accepted that he passed away on June 28. Having buried Burke's body, King returned to Wills only to find that he was already dead. He was soon found by a tribe of the Yandruwandha people who gave him food and shelter.

    In Melbourne, several rescue parties had been mounted. John McKinlay led the South Australian Burke Relief Expedition, William Landsborough led the Queensland Relief Expedition, Captain William Henry Norman sailed the HMCS Victoria to the Albert River on the Gulf of Carpentaria, Frederick Walker led the Victorian Relief Expedition and Alfred William Howitt set off from Melbourne for Coopers Creek.

    King remained with the Yandruwandha until he was found in mid September of 1861, four days after one of several rescue parties, each taking different routes, had arrived at the Dig Tree at Coopers Creek. Led by Alfred William Howitt, the expedition took the extremely ill King back to Melbourne where he

    * Location

    The Burke and Wills memorial has been relocated four times. It's been moved due to tram works, CityLink construction and then was disastrously shifted underneath a waterfall in City Square, where the chlorinated water reportedly cause the bronze statue to corrode.

    It had been in City Square, on the corner of Collins and Swanston streets since 1994.

    Controversy has surrounded the location and position of the memorial with the Burke and Wills Historical Society saying the westfacing location is '"ridiculous". The historical society wants the statue moved to the grounds of the Royal Society of Victoria opposite Carlton Gardens, which is where Burke and Wills' expedition first met in August 1860 and also where the explorers' remains lay before their state funeral in 1863.

    The National Trust also supports this relocation plan, noting that 86,000 Melburnians were reported to have filed past the explorers' bodies in the mourning hall of the Royal Society of Victoria.

    But the City of Melbourne has decided it would be better to use the Metro construction works as an opportunity to restore the statue.

    If the plan is approved by the council it will be transferred to a secure storage facility and undergo restorative works costing $30,000. It will be returned to its current location about 2022.

    King George V Memorial 'Britannia'


    by W. Leslie Bowles, 1937 - 1952
    Located at Kings Domain
      George V, whose full name was George Frederick Ernest Albert, was the first British monarch belonging to the House of Windsor, which he created from the British branch of the German House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. As well as being King of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms, George was the Emperor of India and the first King of the Irish Free State.

      Born in 1865, from the age of 12 George has served in the Royal Navy, but upon the unexpected death of his elder brother, Prince Albert Victor, he became heir to the throne and married his brother's fiancee, Mary of Teck.

      When George's father, King Edward VII died in 1910, he became King-Emperor, the only Emperor of India to ever be present at his own Delhi Durbar, a mass assembly that would be held in India to commemorate the crowning of any new King and Queen. During World War I George relinquished all German titles on behalf of his family and changed the name of the royal house from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor, which it's know as today.

      During his reign, the Statute of Westminster separated the crown so that George ruled the dominions as separate kingdoms, preparing the way for the future development of the Commonwealth. His time of reign also saw many political changes take place including the rise of socialism, fascism and Irish republicanism, along with the formation of the first Labour ministry.

      It was the greatest change in his time, however, World War I which took place between 1914 and 1918, that had a large impact on his life. The war took a toll on George's health, which was already in dire straits due to his heavy smoking habits. Having long suffered from emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive lung disease and pleurisy, in 1928 he fell seriously ill, and for the next two years his son Edward took over many of his duties.

      George never fully recovered from his illnesses and on 15 January 1936 he complained of a cold and took to his bedroom at Sandringham House where he would never leave the room alive. In the following days, becoming gradually weaker as he drifted in and out of consciousness, George's physician, Lord Dawson of Penn, recorded that the George's final words were a mumbled 'God damn you!' spoken to his nurse as she gave him a sedative on the night of the 20 January.

      With George was already comatose and close to death, his physician, Dawson saw fit to hasten the King of England's demise by administering a lethal injection of cocaine and morphine. George died at 11.55 that night. Dawson later stated that he had done this to prevent further strain on the family and also be sure the news of George's death could be announced in the morning edition of The Times newspaper, presumably to avoid a day spent on gossip and speculation had the King died any later.

      Buried at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, during the funeral procession the cortege turned into New Palace Yard where the Maltese Cross fell from the Imperial Crown and landed in the gutter. The newly crowned King, Edward VIII, had to wonder whether this was a bad omen for his new reign and abdicated before the year was out, leaving Albert, Duke of York, to ascend to the throne.

    Edward VII


    Sculptor Unknown, 1920
    Located at Queen Victoria Gardens
      Edward VII, born Albert Edward in 1841, reigned as King of the United Kingdom from 1901 until his death in 1910 and was the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha before it was renamed the House of Windsor by his son, George V due to ties with German ancestory that were perceived as conflicting during the first World War.

      Shortly after the death of Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, for which she's famously known for her mourning and following seclusion, she arranged for Edward's engagement and he married his intended bride, Alexandra at St. George's Chapel in Windsor in March of 1863.

      Their was some controversy in some circles concerning the union as Alexandra's father inherited the throne of Denmark later that year in November, and what with Queen Victoria's relations being German this caused some debate as Denmark was at loggerheads with Germany over the territories of Schleswig and Holstein.

      Edward and Alexandra established Marlborough House as their London residence and Sandringham House in Norfolk as their country retreat, both of them residences where they would entertain guests lavishly, earning them a socialite status that troubled Queen Victoria. Feeling that it would compound the political animosities that already surrounded the couple, she would often try to dictate to them on many matters including what they should name their children.

      During his marriage to Alexandra, Edward had many mistresses throughout his married life, raising speculation as to how involved he actually was with numerous associates including the actress Lillie Langtry and Lady Randolph Churchill who was the mother of Winston Churchill. Although Edward aimed to be discrete in his infidelities, he nonetheless aroused a great deal of speculation and gossip both within his own circles and throughout the British press.

      No attempts at discretion could help Edward in 1869, however. It was during this year that a British Member of Parliament named Sir Charles Mordaunt threatened to name Edward as co-respondent in his divorce suit. While he didn't do so, Edward was still called as a witness when the case went to trial in early 1870 and it was shown that Edward had visited the Mordaunts's house while Sir Charles was otherwise occupied, sitting in the House of Commons. There was never any proof that anything untoward actually took place, but the allegations themselves, which Edward denied, proved damaging to his already dubious reputation.

      When Queen Victoria died in 1901, Edward became King at the age of 59, making him the heir apparent for the longest period of time in British history. He chose to reign under the name Edward VII, instead of his full name Albert Edward, which Victoria had always intended for him to use, stating that he did not wish to diminish the name of Albert that his father had reigned under.

      Having long been a smoker, Edward was known to smoke twenty cigarettes and twelve cigars a day and towards the end of his life he increasingly suffered from bronchitis. In March of 1910 while staying at Biarritz in France, Edward collapsed and was forced to remain there and try to regain his health.

      This coincided with some upheaval in London as the current Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith had been trying to pass a finance bill that was challenged by the Conservatives, who used their majority in the House of Lords to reject it. Because this was an action that wasn't traditionally taken, it sparked a constitutional crisis that had forced England into a general election. With Edward's ill-health going unreported, he attracted criticism for staying in France while the political tensions were so high, and in late April, still suffering from severe bronchitis, he returned to Buckingham Palace.

      Alexandra returned a week later on May 5 after visiting her brother, King George I of Greece, and the following day Edward suffered several heart attacks, but refused to go to bed, saying that he had far too much to do. Between moments of faintness, his son George told Edward that his horse, Witch of the Air, had won a race that afternoon, to which Edward replied, 'I am very glad.' These would be his very last words. At half-past-eleven that night he lost consciousness for the last time and was put to bed where he died fifteen minutes later.

      It's widely held that Alexandra was well aware of Edward's indiscretions throughout their marriage and also that she accepted them. His last known mistress, the society beauty Alice Keppel, was even invited by Alexandra to his bedside at Buckingham Palace at his death. Keppel was also rumoured to have conceived an illegitimate daughter with Edward, named Sonia Keppel who would go on to be the grandmother of Camilla Parker Bowles. Edward never acknowledged any illegitimate children, however.

      Inspiring the term, the Edwardian period, Edward was one of the most popular Kings England had seen and his time of reign fell in line with the new century and the many changes, both technological and social, that came with it. Playing an active role in the modernisation of the British Home Fleet, Edward also sought to reform of the Army Medical Services and reorganise the British army in the wake of the Second Boer War.

      He also invested much time in trying to form better relations between Great Britain and other European countries, and while his efforts earned him the popular nickname of the 'Peacemaker' they sadly did little to avert the outbreak of World War I, four years after he'd died.

    Captain Matthew Flinders


    by Charles Webb Gilbert, 1925
    Located at St Paul's Cathedral
      Captain Matthew Flinders, born in 1774, was raised in Donington, Lincolnshire in England, where as a young man he first discovered the charms of exploration and knowledge after reading the tale of Robinson Crusoe. In 1789, at the age of fifteen, he joined the Royal Navy where he served as midshipman on the HMS Bellerophon, serving under Captain Pasley. It was Pasley who recommended him to Captain Bligh who took him aboard the HMS Providence, which sailed Tahiti to Jamaica while Flinders served on the ship, transporting goods.

      Flinders later served on the HMS Reliance where he first sailed to Australia, establishing himself as a fine navigator and cartographer. It was in 1795 that he explored the coastline around Sydney in just a a tiny open boat called Tom Thumb.

      In 1798 Flinders sailed in a sloop ship named the Norfolk where together with George Bass, a close friend and the ships doctor, he departed from Port Jackson in Sydney to circumnavigate Tasmania, then known as Van Diemen's Land. The recordings of the journey allowed several days to be saved on the naval journey from England. They named the passage between the Australian mainland and Tasmania as Bass Strait, while a large island in this strait was named Flinders Island.

      Returning to England, in April of 1801 Flinders married Ann Chappell but was soon forced to leave his new wife when the British Government sent him back to Australia. He set out that July, commanding the Investigator, to produce a detailed survey of the coastline of Australia as the southern coast was still largely unknown. Between December 1801 and June 1803, Flinders circumnavigated Australia, charting parts of the coastline that included the Great Australian Bight and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

      During his travels, Flinders was the first European explorer to visit the You Yangs ranges near Geelong, and in May of 1802, he and three of his men climbed to the highest point and named it Station Peak, although the name was later changed to Flinders Peak in his honour.

      Returning again to England, Flinders and his wife gave birth to a daughter in 1812 who later married and became Mrs. William Petrie. Matthew Flinders passing away two years later in July of 1814, having established one of the most successful careers known in navigation and cartography.

      Among his many achievements in a career that had spanned just over twenty years, which includes the seminal work on Australian exploration named, A Voyage To Terra Australis, Flinders had also encouraged the use of the name Australia for our continent, and had also survived a shipwreck and disaster only to be imprisoned as a spy at one point. A pioneer in many forms, he was also responsible for identifying and correcting the effect of iron components on wooden ships which had previously caused inaccurate compass readings.

      In 1853 the N.S.W. government of Australia bequeathed a belated pension £100 per year to Flinders' wife who had died the previous year. Mrs. Petrie accepted on behalf of her young son, named William Matthew Flinders Petrie, a man who shared his granfather's passion for knowledge and would make a name of his own in the fields of archaeology and Egyptology.

    Earl of Hopetoun & Marquess of Linlithgow


    by William Birnie Rhind, 1911
    Located at Kings Domain
      John Adrian Louis Hope, the 1st Marquess of Linlithgow, who also had a string of abbreviated titles that would make a fitting eye-chart, lived from 1860 to 1908 and was the first Governor-General of Australia.

      Born at South Queensferry, West Lothian in Scotland, Hope was the eldest son of the 6th Earl of Hopetoun and was educated at Eton College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he passed in 1879 but did not join the Army on graduation. He instead chose to manage the family estates and pursued a life of leisure. He first entered politics in 1883 when he became the conservative whip in the House of Lords and served as a Lord in Waiting for several years.

      In 1889 he was appointed Governor of Victoria, where he served until 1895 before returning to Great Britain. Upon returning he took on other roles in parliament before the Australian colonies had agreed to federate, deciding to form the Commonwealth of Australia on the first day of 1901. Hope's popularity in Victoria and his friendship with leading Australian politicians had made him a logical choice to be the first Governor-General of the Commonwealth, and he was appointed in July of 1900, arriving in Sydney in December.

      In his newly formed role as Governor-General, Hope's first task was to appoint a Prime Minister to form an interim government to take office, which would take office on 1 January 1901. Since Australia's very first federal elections were not scheduled to be held until March, he couldn't follow the usual convention of appointing the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives. So he offered the post to Sir William Lyne, the Premier of the largest state at that time, New South Wales.

      This decision was a matter of protocol mainly, in light of the fact that Lyne had opposed federation and was unpopular with the leading federalist politicians. Alfred Deakin and other prominent politicians told Hope that they wouldn't serve under Lyne, and eventually Lyne returned his commission and Hope assigned Edmund Barton, the leader of the federal movement whom everybody had long believed was entitled to the post. Hope was widely criticised for this so-called 'Hopetoun Blunder'.

      Hope was soon faced with other problems, having brought his own official secretary, William Wallington, who handled all his communications with London. The Australians resented an Englishman being in charge of official business and also loathed the regal pomp and ceremony that Hope insisted on holding deasr to in his role as Governor-General.

      Long before a certain fiasco involving Gough Whitlam and a future Governor-General, Hope also put many noses out of joint by conducting himself in a manner that suggested he was the co-ruler of Australia beside the Prime Minister, something that was certainly not envisioned by the authors of the Australian Constitution.

      Oddly enough, during Hope's career as Governor-General, he developed an interesting friendship with a known Melbourne anarchist and union pioneer named John 'Chummy' Fleming. One known incident that took place in 1901, before Hope would soon resign his position, involved a protest held in May of that year when Fleming protested against unemployment in Melbourne by rushing onto the Prince's Bridge to halt the Governor-General's carriage.

      In a move that contradicts his supposedly pompous nature, Hope asked the police not to interfere and listened carefully to Fleming, who put forth his case about the hardships of unemployment. According to some reports, Hope is credited with pressuring the government to speed up government work projects following the discussion. Their encounter led to a friendship that continued after Hope returned to England the following year after yet another dispute in political circles.

      In what was possibly the first example of alleged rorting in politics, a dispute arose concerning Hope's allowance as Governor-General, which enabled him to maintain vice-regal residences in both Sydney and Melbourne at the same time. A rivalry between New South Wales and Victoria soon led to both the Commonwealth and Victorian parliaments rejecting bills to pay Hopetoun this additional allowance and Hope abruptly resigned in May of 1902.

      Hopetoun left Australia in July 1902, acutely aware that he had failed in a historic role. In compensation he was created Marquess of Linlithgow, but failed to be appointed to the position he most wanted, Viceroy of India. He continued in politics as Secretary for Scotland in 1905, and died suddenly on 29 February in 1908.

    John Pascoe Fawkner


    by Michael Mezaros, 1979
    Located on Collins Street
      John Pascoe Fawkner, born in 1792, was an early pioneer, businessman and politician of Melbourne. In 1835 he financed a party of free settlers from Tasmania, then known as Van Diemen's Land, enabling them to sail to the mainland in his ship, the Enterprize. Fawkner's party sailed to Port Phillip Bay and up the Yarra River to found a settlement which would go on to become the city of Melbourne.

      Born in Cripplegate in London, at the age of 11 Fawkner accompanied his father, a metal refiner, who was transported to Australia as a convict father, having been sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment for receiving stolen goods.

      Transported as part of a two ship fleet to establish a new British colony in Bass Strait in 1803, the colony landed at Sullivan Bay, near Sorrento. For several months the colony struggled to survive and there were some 27 convict escape attempts, including that of the infamous William Buckley.

      Faced with far too many hardships including a lack of wood and fresh water, the colony eventually persuaded Lieutenant-Governor David Collins to abandon the settlement in 1804 and both settlers and convicts set forth for the new town of Hobart in Tasmania.

      Once in Hobart, a young Fawkner assisted his father, who had obtained a conditional pardon, in the running of his bakery, timber business and brewery. Fawkner soon found himself caught in trouble in 1814. A letter written by a Lieutenant-Governor Davey to Lieutenant Jeffreys, instructing that Fawkner was meant to be taken on his ship and transported to Sydney as part of his sentence, implied that Fawkner had absconded from the settlements after committing several robberies. This was not the case, however, as Fawkner proved that what had truthfully happened was that he had rather foolishly, but generously, assisted a party of prisoners who had been determined to escape the Tasmanian settlement.

      In December of 1819 Fawkner and a convict named Eliza Cobb loaded up a cart and moved to Launceston, where they were married in 1822, having been granted a permit from Governor George Arthur. Proving themselves as quite industrious, the couple established a bakery, timber business, bookshop, a newspaper called The Launceston Advertiser, and even a nursery and orchard. When Eliza later received a pardon for her crimes, Fawkner was able to obtain a licence to run the Cornwall Hotel.

      In April of 1835, Fawkner purchased the schooner, Enterprize, hoping to search for a suitable settlement site in the Port Phillip District. This was very soon after John Batman had led an exploring party to Port Phillip District in May of that same


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