John Forrest Memorial

John Forrest Memorial plaque, Bunbury, public art

Public Art : John Forrest Memorial

Architect: Unknown

Description: Simple granite inscribed tablet atop another granite base acknowledging Bunbury's favourite son Sir John Forrest (22nd August, 1847 - 2nd September, 1918) the first Premier of Western Australia.

Date Unveiled: Unknown

Location: The John Forrest plaque can be found in the Bunbury City Council grounds, on the corner of Prinsep and Wittenoom Streets, Bunbury, Western Australia.

Inscription:

Commemorating
the services of
JOHN FORREST
Baron Forrest of Bunbury.
G.C.M.G.-F.R.G.S. - D.C.L. - LL.D.
Born at Bunbury 22nd Aug. 1847
10 years PREMIER of W.A.:
TREASURER and ACTING
PRIME MINISTER of AUSTRALIA.
His work is his monument.

 

THIS GRANITE BASE
was portion of Bunbury
Breakwater an undertaking
commenced in 1897 during
Lord Forrest's term as
Premier of W.A.

So who was Sir John Forrest ?: Well, John Forrest (22 August 1847 – 2 September 1918) was considered to be Western Australia's greatest son. He was a well known surveyor, explorer, politican and the State's first Premier of Western Australia, but best of all he was a local. Yes, John and his not so famous brother Alexander Forrest ,were born in the small town of Bicton, near Bunbury in Western Australia . John Forrest started his career as a surveyor and explorer, often working along side his brother. He later became the first Premier of Western Australia and was instrumental in creating large scale public works projects. Forrest persistently pestered the brilliant engineer, C.Y.O'Connor, to work in Western Australia and after finally succeeding, the two were responsible for the rapid development of the State. Some of their greatest achievements included the Fremantle Harbour, the Goldfields Pipeline and an extensive railway system.   

In 1900 Forrest embarked on a career in Federal Politics and in October of the same year he accepted the position of Postmaster-General in Edmund Barton's federal government. This role was short lived as he was given the opportunity to take the Defense portfolio which had been made available due to the death of Sir James Dickson. During  his career in Federal politics John Forrest served as Minister for Defence, Minister for Home Affairs, Treasurer and acting Prime Minister.

In 1917, Forrest was diagnosed with cancer and in a bid to seek specialist treatment he set off for England in 1918. Unfortunately, the portly politician died during the journey, somewhere off the coast of Sierra Leone. The body was later taken to the West African country and buried there. His remains were later retrieved and reburied in Perth's Karrakatta Cemetery, right in the middle the 'Battle of the Barricades' and the death of Tom Edwards.

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