Sydney's 20 Most Impressive Statues

Sydney's 20 Most Impressive Statues


Posted 2012-07-10 by glenopfollow

Sydney's many public statues tend to honour 19th century English "dead white males". And for good reason, as they all played vital roles in establishing the colony of New South Wales and modern Australia.

There are a few notable exceptions however such as the venerable long reigning monarch Queen Victoria, one or two animal specimens and tributes to our service personnel. Sydneysiders by and large seem to take these public art figures for granted. They merge seamlessly into our modern city-scape and its visitors to our fair city that I notice taking their photographs, not locals. Many of these statues are iconic city landmarks while others lurk in shadowy back streets or 'lost', almost forgotten under trees.

Here are arguably the 20 most impressive and important statues in central Sydney.

[SECTION]Captain Arthur Phillip[/SECTION]

Location: Sydney Botanical Gardens near Macquarie Street and Shakespeare's Place.

Unveiled: 1897

Who was he? Phillip was the commander of the first fleet, first Governor of New South Wales from 1788 to 1792 and founder of the settlement of Port Jackson, later Sydney.

[SECTION]Matthew Flinders[/SECTION]

Location: On Macquarie Street outside the Mitchell Library

Unveiled: 1925

Who was he? Matthew Flinders was a naval navigator, chart maker and explorer. In 1802, he became the first person to circumnavigate the Australian Continent in the ship 'Investigator' and gave Australia its name.


Location: Macquarie Street behind the statue of Mathew Flinders

Unveiled: 1996

Who was he? Trim was Mathew Flinders much loved pet cat. He was born on board the HMS Reliance in 1797 between the Cape of Good Hope and Sydney and made many trips with his master.

[SECTION]Sir Richard Bourke[/SECTION]

Location: At the front of the Mitchell Library near Macquarie Street.

Unveiled: 1842

Who was he? Irishman Richard Bourke was Governor of New South Wales from 1831 to 1837. He introduced the British system of trial by jury which replaced the colony's military justice system. He also named the town Melbourne after the British Prime mister Viscount Melbourne.

[SECTION]William Shakespeare Memorial[/SECTION]

Location: Shakespeare Place between the Mitchell Library and the Botanical Gardens.

Unveiled: 1926

Who was he? English playwright and poet considered the greatest writer in the English language. This memorial includes some of his most famous characters: Hamlet, Portia, Romeo, Juliet and Falstaff.

[SECTION]Il Porcellino [/SECTION]

Location: Macquarie Street, outside Sydney Hospital

Unveiled: 1926

Who is he? Il Porcellino is a copy of a statue in a 17th century fountain in Marketo Nuovo, Florence. The statue is believed to be a copy of an ancient Greek marble boar sculpture. In 1926 five copies of the sculpture were made and one of the copies was donated to the Sydney Hospital by Marchessa Clarissa Torrigiani

Note: It is believed that if you rub the pig's snout he will bring you good luck.

[SECTION]Lachlan Macquarie[/SECTION]

Location: Under a tree at the front of Sydney Mint, Macquarie Street.

Unveiled: 1998

Who was he? Lachlan Macquarie was Governor of New South Wales from 1808 to 1820. His twelve years as Governor were probably the most influential of all the early governors and helped the young colony expand in industry, education and religion.

[SECTION]Queen Victoria[/SECTION]

Location: Queens Square Macquarie street opposite Hyde Park Barracks.

Unveiled: 1888

Who was she? Queen Victoria (1819 -1901) was the longest reigning monarch of Britain (total of 63 years, seven months and two days).

[SECTION]Prince Albert[/SECTION]

Location: Queens Square Macquarie Street at the front of Hyde Park barracks.

Unveiled: 1866

Who was he? Prince Albert was Queen Victoria's much loved consort, marrying in 1841. He died tragically of Typhoid fever at the age of 42 in 1861 leaving Victoria and their nine children. She remained a recluse Queen until her death in 1901.

[SECTION]Queen Victoria [/SECTION]

Location: George Street outside the Queen Victoria building

Unveiled: Originally unveiled in 1904 Dublin Ireland and unveiled in Sydney in 1987. The Irish gave the statue to the people of Sydney for the cities 200th anniversary. In 1987 she left Ireland and arrived in Sydney to be placed outside the building named after her.


Location: George Street next to the Queen Victoria statue.

Unveiled: 1987

Who was he? Islay was Queen Victoria favourite pet, a Royal Skye Terrier. Whenever Islay saw his royal mistress he would sit up and beg for a biscuit. Nowadays, to the voice of John Laws, Islay begs for a coin to help the deaf and blind children of New South Wales.


Location: Macquarie Street at the front of the conservatorium of music.

Unveiled: 1922

Who was he? King Edward VII was the first born of Queen Victoria. Edward had to wait until he was almost 60 before he came to the throne. Queen Victoria died in 1901, but due to illness and the ending of the Boer War, the King's coronation was delayed until 1902.

[SECTION]Sydney Cenotaph[/SECTION]

Location: Martin Place

Unveiled: 1929

Who are they? The two bronze statues at the Cenotaph were modelled on real Defence personnel. The soldier is Private William Piggot Darby from the 15th Infantry Battalion and 4th Field Ambulance AIF and the sailor is Leading Seaman John William Varco who served on HMAS Pioneer (1914 - 1916) in German East Africa and on HMAS Parramatta (1917 - 1919).


Location: Barrack Street

Unveiled: 2000

Who is she? This is a copy of a 4th century BC bronze statue of the Greek goddess Athena attributed to the ancient Greek sculptor Kephisodotos. It was given as a gift to the city from the Mayor of Athens for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

[SECTION]Statues of the Lands Title Building[/SECTION]

Location: Lands Title Building Bridge Street

Unveiled: 1891

Who are they? There are 23 sandstone statues surrounding this magnificent building. They include some of Australia's most notable 19th century figures including Sir Henry Parkes, Hamilton Hume, Charles Sturt and Ludwig Leichhardt.

[SECTION]Archibald Fountain[/SECTION]

Location: Northern side of Hyde Park

Unveiled: 1932

Who are they: The Archibald Fountain features a bronze Apollo surrounded by other mythical figures. It was bequeathed to the city in the will of John Feltham Archibald and is one of Sydney's most photographed sites.

[SECTION]Labours and Beauty of Pioneering Mankind[/SECTION]

Location: Hyde Park near Elizabeth Street.

Unveiled: 1961

Who are they? This unique statue depicts the three elements of water, fire and earth. Water is represented as a fisherman, fire as a woman and earth a farmer.


Location: Southern side of Hyde Park on Collage Street

Unveiled: 1879

Who was he? Cook was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer. This statue was erected to commemorate Captain Cook's discovery of the east coast of Australia in 1770.

[SECTION]'Sacrifice' at the Anzac Memorial[/SECTION]

Location: South Hyde Park near Liverpool Street.

Unveiled: 1934

Who is it? This bronze sculpture is called 'Sacrifice' and represents a dead naked soldier.

[SECTION]Pioneer Women's Monument[/SECTION]

Location: Loftus Street

Unveiled: 1988

Who is it? This bronze 3.5 metre monument to women pioneers of Australia was commissioned for Australia's Bicentenary in 1988 by the Australasian Women's Pioneer Society.

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