Hordern's Monument

Hordern Monument, Albany, Western Australia

Public Art : Hordern's Monument or Hordern Monument

Sculptor : The obelisk was imported from the Scottish masonry firm of Heslop, Wilson & Co

Description : A 9m high red granite obelisk erected in honor of entrepreneur Anthony Hordern the man behind the WA Land Company who eventually established of the Great Southern Railway.

Date Unveiled : The Hordern Monument was unveiled on the 2nd July, 1890, after a 4 year delay.

Funding : The obelisk cost £792 (which included shipping fees). The money raised was by public subscription. The staff at Anthony Hordern & Sons got the ball rolling with a £500 donation followed by a personal donation from Mr Alexander Forrest of £50.

Location : Hordern's Monument is located in the middle of a roundabout at the top of York Street, Albany, Western Australia.

Inscription :

This monument
was erected by the people
of Western Australia
To perpetuate the memory
of the late Anthony Hordern
Who by his energy and enterprise
obtained from the Western Australian
Government, sanction to constructing the Great
Southern Railway. The first in the colony
constructed on the land grant system
and who died on board the
R.M.S Carthage on his way
from England to Australia
on the 16th day of September 1886.

 

So Who Was Anthony Hordern? : Anthony Hordern (1844-1886) was a popular figure in Western Australia, thanks of his involvement in setting up a syndicate in London to raise money for the establishment the Great Southern Railway. Often referred to as the "the Cecil Rhodes of Western Australia" Mr Hordern was the son of a Sydney merchant.

During the late 1800's shipping became an increasing problem in Western Australia due to the fact Fremantle had no safe harbour, thanks to a rocky bar blocking the mouth of the Swan River. Instead ships were either forced to anchor offshore or head to Albany and the safety of its deepwater harbour. This and the lack of transport facilities in growing agricultural regions made the growth of the new colony slow and cumbersome. With John Forrest and chief engineer C.Y.O'Connor spending up big on the Eastern Railway (servicing the goldfields), the pipeline and local Perth infrastructure there was little money or inclination to build another major railway line, unless it could be privately funded in part. The govenment for their role secured 2 million acres of land between King George Sound and Beverley.

Numerous offers were put forth but most were rejected or withdrawn. Enter Sir Anthony Hordern, a wealthy businessman from the Eastern States. Hordern was so convinced of the potential and possibilities of building the Great Southern railway line he formed the Western Australian Land Company in London with a capital of £300,000 and a debenture issue of £500,000. The money would cover the costs of building a line from Albany to Beverley, a distance of 243 miles (391km). From Beverley it would connect to the then Government Railway Terminus which went all the way through to Fremantle.

After Mr Hordern successfully floated the WA Land Company in England he headed home to Albany on the ship S.S.Carthage. In the meantime the townsfolk in Albany busily began organising a welcoming home celebration for their "hero", which included a banquet and a sporting display. Unfortunately, four days before reaching Australia Mr Hordern died suddenly from encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) at the age of 42. Shocked officials were only informed of his death when the ship pulled in to berth. His body was already prepared for burial in a teak coffin covered in tarred canvas, re his request to the ship's captain, he wanted to be buried in Albany.

During his funeral nearly all the towns folk lined the streets to pay their last respects. A few days later a public holiday was declared by the Governor and flags were flown at half mast. Anthony Hordern left behind a wife and four children.

Trivia : A similar obelisk in blue granite was erected at his grave in Memorial Park Cemetery, Albany.

 Hordern Monument, Albany, Westen Australia, obelisk

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