Labours and Beauty of Pioneering Mankind
Public Art : Labours and Beauty of Pioneering
Sculptor : © Gerard Havekes
Date Unveiled : 15th of February, 1961
Description : A 4.5m sculpture of three carved
sandstone figures depicting Water, Fire and Earth. There is something quite intriguing about
the three figures all huddled together.
Location : South Western section of Hyde Park,
|The Labours and Beauty of Pioneering Mankind
The Labours and Beauty of Pioneering Mankind
are depicted by three figures
water, fire and earth and a flanking font
Water - A fisherman looking to the sea and new horizons.
Fire - A woman depicting womanhood and intuition
protecting the fire of initiative and progress.
Earth - A farmer depicting the pioneering effects upon
which this country has developed .
History of the Labours and Beauty of Pioneering Mankind
sculpture: The Labours and Beauty of Pioneering Mankind sculpture is part of the Frederick Joseph Walker memorial (which also includes a tiled fountain), which was presented
to the City of Sydney by his family in 1961.
So who was Frederic
Joseph Walker? : Who better to tell the story of Frederic Joseph Walker's life and
achievements than his grandson, Fred Murray-Walker. Mr Murray-Walker has kindly given
permission for his article to be publish here.
Frederic Joseph Walker Memorial Fountain
The Frederic Joseph Walker Memorial Fountain is in Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia. It is a
magnificent two part memorial sculptured by Gerard Havekas (1925- ), one part is a huge Sydney
sandstone sculpture of three figures depicting 'The Labours and Beauty of Pioneering Mankind'. The
other part is the fountain which is a very large circular saucer sitting on a pedestal about 600mm
above an egg shaped pond and covered in hundreds of handmade coloured ceramic tiles, no two the same.
The water spouts about 2 metres vertically and then falls back into the dish which overflows as a
curtain of water onto natural round river stones in the pond. The water is blown by the wind giving a
sense of restlessness and continuity but there is also a sense of serenity as it is set in a grassy
area with a backdrop of shrubs leading many park visitors to sit and relax.
The family of Frederic Joseph Walker donated the memorial to be placed in Hyde Park, Sydney,
AS A TRIBUTE TO HIS MEMORY AND ALL WHO PIONEERED PRIMARY INDUSTRY IN AUSTRALIA.
The sculpture’s design was as a result of a competition held by the City of Sydney Council under Lord
Mayor Harry F Jensen. One of F. J. Walker’s sons-in-law, Sir William Herbert Northam CBE, (Bill
Northam) was, at the time, a Councillor on the City of Sydney Council. The competition was won by Mr.
Gerard Havekas, a Dutch sculptor who lives in Sydney having moved to Australia in 1950.
On a plaque adjacent to the sculpture, Gerard Havekas described it as follows.
THE LABOURS AND BEAUTY OF PIONEERING MANKIND ARE DEPICTED BY THE THREE FIGURES WATER FIRE AND EARTH AND
A FLANKING FONT. WATER - A FISHERMAN LOOKING TO THE SEA AND NEW HORIZONS. FIRE - A WOMAN DEPICTING
WOMANHOOD AND INTUITION PROTECTING THE FIRE OF INITIATIVE AND PROGRESS. EARTH - A FARMER DEPICTING THE
PIONEERING EFFORTS UPON WHICH THIS COUNTRY HAS DEVELOPED
The three figures are carved out of Sydney sandstone.
About F J Walker
Frederic Joseph Walker was Chairman and Managing Director of F J Walker Pty Limited and associated
companies. Born September 26th, 1874, in Bega, New South Wales. He died from a heart attack at his home
in Lindfield, Sydney, Australia on June 24th, 1944 aged 69 years. He was the second son of Henry &
Susan (nee Bond) Walker. Henry Walker was the eldest son & second born of Captain James Henry
Walker and Rachel Closson. Frederic Joseph Walker had five brothers and six sisters and took on the
responsibility of the family when his father died in 1890 in Cooktown, Queensland. Frederic Joseph
Walker married Ella Fisher (1875-1940) on August 26th, 1903 and had two sons and five daughters.
Captain James Walker was the subject of a book written by Sir Raphael Cilento 1893-1985 titled
"Captains Walker's Marathon" outlining the wreck of the barque "Thomas King" in 1852 and the
establishment of the Walker family in Australia. Frederic Joseph Walker is therefore a grandson of
Captain James Walker and Lady Cilento 1894-1987 is a great-granddaughter.
Frederic Joseph Walker was a prominent man in the Australian export meat trade. Mr Walker began his
business life with the Orient Company about 1888, later becoming manager of G S Yuill & Co.’s
office. In 1903 he opened an office for that company in South Africa to handle frozen meat &
produce. He was appointed their frozen meat salesman in England and, afterwards, returned to Australia
to open a branch for G S Yuill & Co. in Perth, Western Australia.
On the death of the Australian General Manager he took over that position. Realising the great
possibilities of the frozen meat trade in Australia, he started business on his own account in
Brisbane, Queensland in 1909. The following year he opened a head office in Sydney, New South Wales,
and later extended his activities to Melbourne, Victoria, and Auckland, Wellington, & Christchurch
in New Zealand and later still to London and Liverpool in England. He established frozen meat wholesale
depots in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Nottingham, Derby &
Bristol. Over the next few years he acquired control of the Sydney Meat Preserving Co. Ltd., the
Australian Chilling and Freezing Co. Ltd., the Metropolitan Meat Co. Ltd., the Australian Wool and
Produce Co. Ltd., The Waterside Cold Stores Ltd., The Country Freezing Co. Ltd., and the Hunter River
Meat Preserving Co. Ltd. After this extraordinary growth in the company, he decided to centralize all
activities by closing branches outside New South Wales.
In 1923 he introduced country killed, chilled beef to the Sydney trade. Prior to this, beef was
delivered warm (straight from the abattoirs) to retail outlets. In September, 1932 he pioneered the
first successful shipment of chilled beef to England on the "Port Fairy". At the time of his death, the
number of employees in the companies under his control was approximately 1000. After his death, the
company continued to prosper and grow and in 1952 became a Public Company and was listed on the Sydney
Stock Exchange. The company continued to grow and was supplying chilled and frozen beef throughout the
During his last few years he devoted much time to matters of national importance including politics,
education & religious training of the young as well as matters connected with the war effort and
post-war problems. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Sydney, Institute of Public Affairs and the
NSW Club and was widely known for his public service and philanthropy.
F J Walker Ltd was acquired by Australia Meat Holdings Pty Ltd in 1983 to make it Australia’s largest
beef processor and exporter. The name continues today only as F J Walker Foods which was established in
1970 to manufacture meat patties and later to distribute all products, except buns, for the McDonalds
group of family restaurants. They have 6 distribution centres nationally, servicing almost 900
restaurants. They also supply beef patties to McDonald’s stores in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand,
Singapore, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Japan.
Written by Fred Murray-Walker
Captain Walker's Marathon by Sir Raphael Cilento Kt, first published in 1986 by Boolarong Publications.
ISBN 1 86252 050 9, Copyright Lady Cilento M.B.B.S.
The Pastoral Review and Graziers Record. July 1944 Pages 379-380
The F J Walker Story, a Tribute to our Founder and Leader, Written for the company's Golden Jubilee
1910-1960 by D G Molesworth CBE.- Chairman of Directors of F J Walker Ltd 1949-1960
Address at the Funeral of Frederic Joseph Walker, Given by Canon F W Tugwell, St Albans Anglican
The End of an Era as F J Walker Sold - The Land (Rural Press) Thursday May 5th 2005
Acknowledgements : Public Art Around the World would like to thank
Fred Murray-Walker for kindly giving permission to use his article.