June 16 - 22, 2019: Issue 409
HAVE YOU STOPPED TO LOOK?
HAVE YOU STOPPED TO LOOK?
by George Repin
The Central Business District of Sydney abounds with statues, fountains and wishing wells, but they seem to be ignored by the city’s workers as they hurry about their business. Tourists, on the other hand, find many of them interesting, read the inscriptions and can be seen taking souvenir photographs. Much of this street architecture, which includes some grand statues, has stories to tell and provides insights into the city’s history.
A statue of the young Queen Victoria, originally erected in 1888, stands in Queen’s Square near St James Church where it was moved from the centre of the square when it was redesigned following removal of the trams. Albert, the Prince Consort, is on the other side of Macquarie Street in front of the Hyde Park Barracks. After a long separation, during which he stood in front of Hyde Park and later in the Botanical Gardens, he and the Queen were reunited opposite each other in 1987.
An older Queen Victoria sits at the southern end of the Queen Victoria Building. Until 1947 the statue was in front of Leinster House, Dublin, the seat of the Irish Parliament. After it was removed as inappropriate in the Irish Free State it was long neglected. It was rescued to be presented to Sydney by the Government and People of Ireland “in a spirit of goodwill and friendship” and was unveiled on 20 December, 1987.
Statue of Queen Victoria outside the Queen Victoria Building
Nearby is a wishing well incorporating a bronze statue of the dog Islay, a favourite pet of Queen Victoria, modelled from one of her sketches (1). Sometimes, when the system is working, the dog will appear to speak, inviting donations. (The voice was recorded by John Laws.) A stone from the battlements of Blarney Castle (2), a gift from the Lord Mayor and the people of Cork, is let into the front of the well. Passer-bys are encouraged to “Touch the stone from Blarney Castle – make a wish – and cast a coin”. (Donations go to the Royal NSW Institute for Deaf and Blind Children).
Islay – Queen Victoria’s favourite pet
Another wishing well is in front of the Sydney Hospital, watched over by a bronze statue of a wild boar, Il Porcellino, its snout polished bright by people rubbing it and making a wish and a donation to the hospital. Il Porcellino is a copy of a statue originally in the Mercato Nuovo in Florence and will be the subject of a future Reflection.
A statue of Athena (also known as the Kaphisodotos Statue) standing in the middle of Barrack Street, a gift from the Mayor of Athens to the Mayor of Sydney in 2000, reminds us of the outstandingly successful Sydney Olympic Games. It is a copy of a 4th Century bronze of the Greek Goddess Athena (sculptor unknown).
On an island in Shakespeare Place in front of the Public Library of New South Wales the bard stands above an impressive grouping of Shakespearean characters below on a plinth. The sculptor, Sir Bertram MacKenna, is said to have portrayed five of the most famous Shakespearean actors of the time in their most celebrated roles – Falstaff, Hamlet, Juliet, Portia and Romeo. An inscription on the base indicates the statue was presented to the City of Sydney by Henry Gullett in August 1914. Unfortunately to have a close look means braving the traffic to cross the busy dual carriageway around the island.
Many more statues are tucked away around the city, each with its own story and its place in the history of Sydney.
Stone from the battlements of Blarney Castle by George Repin.
Islay was the much loved Royal Skye terrier of Queen Victoria. The bronze sculpture was modelled in 1842.
The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle in 1446. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab (great eloquence - or skill at flattery).
Photograph details: The Queen Victoria statue sculpted by John Hughes, located outside the Queen Victoria building in downtown Sydney, Australia. Photograph by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen at http://bjornfree.com/galleries.html
Queen Victoria's favourite dog "Islay", was sculpted by local Sydney artist Justin Robson.
Shakespeare Memorial: The memorial, commissioned by Sir Henry Gullett (the father of Lucy Gullett) before he died in 1914, was sculpted by Sir Bertram MacKenna and installed in February 1926. Sir Henry had been President of the Shakespeare Society of New South Wales.
Blarney Stone Photograph by George Repin.
Waymarks Website kindly provided the Shakespeare and Islay images taken by Paul's Paper.
Previous Reflections by George Repin
The Nineteen Thirties Remembering Rowe Street The Sydney Push Saturday Night at the Movies Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram A Stop On The Road To Canberra City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s Hill End The Paragon at Katoomba Seafood In Sydney How Far From Sydney? Cockatoo Island Over The Years The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991 Busby's Bore The Trocadero In Sydney Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection Gloucester and the Barrington Tops A Millenium Apart Have You Stopped to Look? Gulgong Il Porcellino Olympia Durham Hall Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia Hotels at Bondi Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone The Goroka Show - 1958 A Gem On The Quay Staffa The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls The Coal Mine At Balmain The Hyde Park Barracks The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant Waldheim Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955 King Island Kelp The Mercury Theatre Around Angkor - 1963 Angkor Wat 1963 Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli Chairman Mao's Personal Physician The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross The Oceaographic Museum in Monaco The Island of Elba Russian Fairy Tale Plates Meteora Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska Cloisonné Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories Not A Chagall! Did You Listen? Did You Ask? Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand Borobudur Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells Murano University of Padua Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi Pula The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park Aphrodisias The Divine Comedy Caodaism Sapa and local Hill People A Few Children Cappadocia Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997 Hotere Garden Oputae Children of the Trobriand Islands Page Park Market - Rabaul Rabual Kotor, Montenegro Galleries of Photographs I Lascaux Galleries of Photographs II The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia Ivan Meštrović - Sculptor Delphi Gallery of Photographs III The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point San Simeon - "Hearst Castle" Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982 Russian New Year Mycenae "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska The White Pass and Yukon Route Totem Poles Tivkin Cemetery Krka National Park - Croatia Tavistock Square and the BMA Orthodox Easter Wieliczka Salt Mine A Walk on Santorini Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958 A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens Bath St. David's In Wales Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist Kraków Lilianfels Collonges-La-Rouge Gingerbread Houses Cape Sounion Delos Wroclaw Colonial Williamsburg Gruyères Strasbourg Coventry Cathedral The Roman Theatre at Aspendos Turkish Carpets The Duomo of Orvieto Rovinj The City Walls of Dubrovnik Monaco - Snapshots Bonifacio, Corsica Autumn in New England USA The Great Ocean Road Pompeii Didyma Lawrence Hargrave 1850-1915 The Corinth Canal Malta Snapshots of Amsterdam Café Central - Vienna The Forbidden City - Beijing, China A Ride on the Jungfrau Railway - 1954 Snapshots in the Highlands of Scotland 1954 Must See Sights in Paris - 1954 Corfu Reflections On the Nineteen Thirties The Gold Souk in Dubai Stromboli Ha Long Bay - Vietnam Lake Argyle The Bungle Bungle Range Langgi Inlet, W.A. White Cliffs, NSW - 1990 Sturt National Park - May, 1990 A Few Statues and Water Spouts The Dodecanese Archipelago Rhodes Lindos The Church on Spilled Blood - 2005 Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad Repin's In "Ladies In Black" Signs of the Times at Sydney Museum: Repin Inns
Copyright George Repin 2019. All Rights Reserved.