Just off Bay street North Brighton is an inauspicious statue that nonetheless enjoys an immensity of importance in Melbourne history.
Somewhat hidden from view at first, but standing tall and surveying the suburb after which he was named, Thomas Bent's statue is one of those pieces of public art easy to drive by, but worth a stop and a look over when the opportunity arises.
The local politician whom Bentleigh is named after actually holds a dubious role in history, held to have been corrupt in a career that saw him serve as Premier of Victoria, as well as Mayor of Brighton (now Bayside) Council.
This notwithstanding though, as the bearer of the name that would come to embody a suburb, whether a saint or sinner Bent's place in Melbourne history shall long remain notable. In turn, if not for the statue, the fountain is surely a worthwhile landmark.
While many European cities may boast a beautifully crafted public fountain, Melbourne by virtue of its comparatively shorter history - alongside perhaps smaller supply of Italian marble just hanging around the city - has few such public installations in existence. Accordingly, its innate design is perhaps the most striking feature of the space.
Accordingly, while many may at first notice the statue, with the fountain being a re-hydration station for the many cyclists that make their daily commute to and from the city for work it can be said - while Bent's figure shall continue to provide an imposing presence over the space - the dedication to his wife Elizabeth may ultimately come to be most cherished by locals.
I wonder how many people stop to read inscriptions, I'm gusessing most just pass on by. I can't help myself when there's history to read about. If I'm in one of those towns that has history stories on its buildings and in its streets like Hay or Broken Hill it takes me ages to get about.
I really miss the 'Tommy Bent's Wine Bar' which was sooo wonderful for grown ups - until the owners became greedy and put in loud, noisy bands to take in more $s from loud noisy kids', which was the beginning of the end of 'Tommy Bent's'. Oh how so many grown ups long for a decent wine bar to attend again.