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Sir Richard Bourke Statue

Sir Richard Bourke Statue

Public Art: Sir Richard Bourke Statue

Sculptor: © Edward Hodges Baily

Date Unveiled: 1842

Location: The statue of Sir Richard Bourke is located at the front of the State Library, the eastern side of Macquarie St, Sydney, Australia.

Sir Richard Bourke Statue

Description: A bronze figure standing on large square granite pedestal.

Commissioned By: Unknown

Cast: England

Who Was Sir Richard Bourke? : 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. 

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 inner Sydney.

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 was not happy. Today Sir Richard Bourke remains as dull as the day he was blasted.


This Statue
Lieutenant General
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 secular difficulty.
His judgment, 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 prodigious 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.

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