Rupert Hamer Statue

Rupert Hamer Statue, Melbourne, Australia

Public Art : Rupert Hamer Statue

Sculptor : © Peter Corlett

Date : Unknown

Description : A Bronze life size statue of the 39th Premier of Victoria, Rupert Hamer. Which features the occassional indiscretions of a pigeon or two.

Location : Outside and facing the Government building at 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne, Australia.

History of the Rupert Hamer Statue : Former Premier, Jeff kennett, was responsible for the series of four Victorian Premier statues outside 1 Treasury Place. The statues being of John Cain Jr, Rupert Hamer, Henry Bolte and Albert Dunstan who were all post-World War II era former Victorian Premiers and had all served more than 3,000 days in office. Whilst in office Jeff Kennett chose the magical number of 3,000 to be reached before any Victorian Premier would be rewarded with a bronze statue in his or her likeness. Unfortunately for Jeff and his predicessor, Steve Bracks, both failed by a whisker to be immortalised in bronze.

History of Rupert Hamer : Rupert Hamer (1916-2004) also known as Dick Hamer, was the 39th Premier of Victoria from 1972-1981. When long serving Premier Henry Bolte retired in 1972 Hamer succeeded him as Liberal leader and Premier, much to the displeasure of some members of the Party. Under the slogan "Hamer makes it happen" Hamer pushed to modernise and liberalise government in Victoria. Among his reformists policies were tightening environmetal protection laws, abolishing death penalty, giving Aboriginal communities ownership of their land, decriminalising abortion & homosexuality. Unfortunately, by 1979 all was not well in the State of Victoria, with rising unemployment and industrial unrest. The Labor Pary were threatening the long standing Liberal Party dominance. In the 1979 elections, Hamer just scrapped in to retain his leadership as Premier. But the Party were not happy and began to undermine his postion. In 1981, Hamer resigned, having realised he had lost support from his party. Ironically, the Liberal Party was defeated in the State elections for the first time in 27 years. 
Following his retirement, he continued to be active in the community, becoming  chairman of the Victorian State Opera , president of the Victorian College of the Arts and a patron of the Public Transport Users Association.
On the 23rd of March, 2004, Hamer died in his sleep. Fittingly he was given a State Funeral.

Barry Jones describe him as "the finest flower in the Victorian Deakinite tradition."


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