Sir Richard Bourke Statue
Public Art: Sir Richard Bourke Statue
Sculptor: © Edward Hodges Baily
Date Unveiled: 1842
Location: In front of the State Library, eastern side
of Macquarie St, Sydney, Australia.
Description: A bronze figure standing on large square
Commissioned By: Unknown
Cast : England
History: Irishman Richard Bourke, was Governor of the
colony of New South Wales from December 3rd, 1831 to December 5th, 1837. As a fully qualified barrister, Bourke was
popular with all the Colonial Governors. He was instrumental in introducing the British system of, trial by
jury, which replaced the rule of military justice that the colony had been enjoying (not) since 1788. See
Fort Denison for an example. Very much the adventurer, he instigated many expeditions
throughout Australia whilst in office. He was also a very highly religious man and financially supported various
church denominations in Sydney. In fact Bourke was responsible for the construction of most of the churches in
Sir Richard Bourke, K.C.B.
is erected by the people of New South Wales
to record his able honest and benevolent administration
from 1831 to 1837
selected for the government at a period of sincular difficulty.
His judgement, urbanity and firmness justified the choice.
Comprehending at once the vast resources
peculiar to this colony.
He applied them, for the first time, systematically to its benefit.
He voluntarily divested himself of the prodicious influence
arising from the assignment of penal labour an enacted
just and salutary laws for the amelioration of penal discipline.
He was the first governor who published satisfactory accounts
of the public receipts and expenditure.
Without oppression or detriment to any interest
he raised the revenue to a vast amount and from its surplus,
realized extensive plans of immigration.
He established religious equality on a just and firm basis
and sought to provide for all without distinction of sect,
a sound and adequate system of national education.
He constructed various public works of permanent utility.
He founded the flourishing settlement of Port Phillip
and threw open the unlimited wilds of Australia
to pastoral enterprize.
He established savings banks and was the patron of
the first Mechanic's Institute. He created an equitable tribunal
for determining upon claims to grants of lands.
He was the warm friend of the liberty of press.
Trivia : This statue was one of the first ever
erected in Australia.
In 1993 the statue was getting a tad grubby and in need of a clean. So the government
commissioned cleaners, who subsequently blasted it (method at the time) using walnut shells, stripping it of
its patina and turning it from green to brown overnight. Needless to say the public were not happy. Today Sir
Richard Bourke remains as dull as the day he was blasted.
Useful Links To Sir Richard Bourke
History of Australia Online - Governor Richard Burke