Gordon of Khartoum Memorial

Gordon of Khartoum Memorial, Melbourne, Australia

Public Art: Gordon of Khartoum Memorial (AKA Charles George Gordon Statue)

Sculptor: Replica of statue by Hamo Thornycroft.

Date: Unveiled 26th of June 1889

Description: The bronze statue of Gordon depicts him deep in thought with one hand on his chin and the other holding his bible. If you look closely you will see his cane is tucked under his arm. The base and pedestal includes reliefs depicting scenes from his early life, showing victories in China, working at Gravesend and Sudan and his death at Khartoum.

Location: Gordon Reserve, Spring Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Funded By: Public subscription. Donations were made from over 100,000 citizens.

Background: General Charles Gordon (1833-1885),  also known as Chinese Gordon, Gordon Pasha, and Gordon of Khartoum, was a British army officer and administrator. He was best remembered for his heroics at Khartoum, where he was killed two days before troops came to his rescue. The soldiers arrived at Khartoum, only to discover his head being displayed on a pike, he had been beheaded by Mahdi Mohammed Ahmed's soldiers.

History: Following Gordon's death in 1885, it was was suggested a memorial be erected in his honour, in Melbourne. In 1888 a statue by Hamo Thorneycroft was completed in London, England and a copy of this was sort. The original statue of Thorneycroft was erected in Trafalgar Square but later removed in 1943 and then relocated in 1953 to the Victoria Embankment. The Melbounre memorial was erected in 1889 at the apex of the triangle located at Macarthur and Spring Streets, facing the Treasury Reserve. Unlike the London memorial, the base and pedestal depicts scenes from Gordon's life rather than representations of Fortitude, Faith, Charity and Justice. This was one of the first statues in Melbourne to depict a Public figure and it started a flood of monuments (11 or so) being erected in Melbourne in the following twenty years. This became known as the “heroic age of colonial statuary”. The memorial was unveiled on the 26th of June by the acting Governor, Sir William Robinson. The artist was not very happy with the positioning of the memorial because it was hard to see Gordon's face.

Inscription:

 

Erected by
the people of Victoria
to honour the memory of
Charles George Gordon
Major-Gen Royal Engineers
who fell at Khartoum
January 26-1885
"I Have Tried To Do My Duty"

"This is the happy warrior - this is he
That every man in arms should wish to be."


Gravesend 1865-71
" He sought for little children, to feed and clothe and train."



Dispelling Rumours: Contrary to popular belief there is no blood tie between Charles George Gordon and Adam Lindsay Gordon, despite the two monuments being located in the same reserve. People should be forgiven for believing they are relatives considering Adam Lindsay and General Charles Gordon were from the same Scottish clan, shared the same birth year of 1833, and attended the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich together. The problem is, tracing the family tree, General Gordon he doesn't seem to have had any family branch in Ireland during the 1700s!

 

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