Public Art: Jean Michel Camille Malfroy Sculpture
Also Known As: J M Camille Malfroy bust
Sculptors: © George Andrews
Date Unveiled: The Jean Michel Camille Malfroy bust was unveiled August 30th, 2007.
Description: A 70cm Bronze bust of Jean Michel Camille Malfroy, an engineer and politician who created a trio of artificial geysers in the Government Gardens, Rotorua.
Location: The sculpture can be found at the Oruawhata-Malfroy Fence surrounding the Malfroy Geysers in Government Gardens, Rotorua, New Zealand. Also around the fence line can be found the two wood carvings Oruawhata and Tunohopu.
Centenary of the death of
Jean-Michel Camille Malfroy
Chairman of Rotorua Town Board
Chevalier De La Legion D’Honneur.
So who was Jean Michel Camille Malfroy? : Jean Michel Camille Malfroy (1839-1895), better known as Camille, was born in France in 1839. During the 1850’s Camille, his father and brother traveled to Australia to try their luck during the Victorian gold rush.
By the early 1960s, Camille was living in New Zealand. He gained a reputation for designing effective water races and mine pumping equipment including a centrifugal minerals separator, a reversible turbine for winding purposes, and sluice ripples made from cut railway lines.
In 1886 Malfroy headed to Rotorua as the engineer for the wharf and the town water supply. He was also responsible for recording the changes in lake level and thermal activity following the Tarawera eruption. During the 1889 Exposition Coloniale in Paris, in which he won a silver medal, he used the opportunity to venture off and check out the English and European spa facilities with the thought of improving those in Rotorua.
Malfroy saw the tourist potential for the thermal town of Rotorua. Not only did he focus on the sanatoriums and bathhouses but the infrastructure including parks, lawns, roads, and paths which made the location more appealing to tourists.
Of all of Malfroy’s inventions, his trio of artificial geysers (Malfroy Geysers) in the Government Gardens is his best known. Malfroy tapped into the Oruawhata thermal springs, which were filled with boiling water and poisonous gases, by using pipes and regulating valves to create three 12m high geysers. The unveiling of the artificial geysers coincided with Queen Victoria’s birthday in May 1890. The Oruwhata springs also happened to be a burial pit for the remains of Maori warriors.
Sadly over the years, the geysers have deteriorated.
Artist Statement: “It was just a dream to model. There’s so much character in his face. It has been a lovely thing to work on,” – Rotorua Daily Post