Sir William John Clarke Monument

Sir William John Clarke Monument, Treasury Gardens, Melbourne, Australia

Public Art: Sir William John Clarke Monument

Sculptor:  © Sir Edgar Bertram MacKennal

Date: Unveiled on 22nd July 1902.

Description: Marble bust of Clarke on a pedestal. Below the bust is a women holding up a wreath (which represents the State of Victoria) and a young man holding a scroll (which represents education).

Cost : £1,900

Location: Treasury Gardens, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background of William John Clarke: William John Clarke was born in Tasmania in 1831. He moved to Victoria in 1860, eventually making a name for himself as a philanthropist and successful pastoralist. A generous man, Clarke donated to the building fund for St Paul's Cathedral (£10,000) and Trinity College (£7,000). In 1862 Clarke stood unsuccessfully for the Legislative Assembly against George Higinbotham. Actively involved in many areas of public life he became the first Australian to be made baronet. Clarke died in unfortunate circumstances in 1897, stepping from a tram on Collins Street. Oh dear, what is it with trams in Melbourne, sculptor Pietro Porcelli nearly came to an ugly end with a tram too.

History of the Sir William John Clarke Monument: In 1897, following the death of william John Clarke, a public meeting was held in Melbourne to discuss how best to honour a man who gave so generously to the community. Following consultation with Clarke's widow, Lady Janet Clarke and his son-in-law, it was agreed a marble monument sculpted by Edgar Bertram Mackennal (who was residing in London) would be fitting. It was stressed that the sculpture must be 'of heroic size', yet modest. The monument was unveiled by the Governor Sir George Clarke on 22nd July 1902 in the gardens where he often took walks.


To the Hon.
Sir William John Clarke
Bart.,L.L.D., M.L.C.
Victoria's Tribute

Trivia : Sir Edgar Bertram MacKennal (the sculptor) was the first Australian artist to be knighted.

Works of Sir Edgar Bertram MacKennal :

William John Clarke Monument, Melbourne  Thomas Joseph Ryan Statue, Brisbane, Australia Shakespeare Memorial, Sydney, Australia

     William John Clarke            Thomas Joseph Ryan       Shakespeare Memorial

King Edward VII statue, Melbourne, Australia  Cenotaph, Sydney, Australia

     King Edward VII                Cenotaph


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