EUREKA !! - WE ARE AMUSED Between Alexandra and Lithgow Avenues, Queen Victoria Gardens, James White’s 1907 Queen Victoria Memorial. I enjoy the irony of contrasting Q.V with the Eureka Tower, the full weight of Pomp & Circumstance next to the ragged trousered, anti-establishment Eureka Rebellion. I’m amused, never mind ‘Erself!
The memorial cost 7000 pounds and was unveiled on May 24, 1907. A case of the “Late Monarch” for the capital city of the state of Victoria, other cities already having their own tributes in place, following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.
Liverpool born sculptor James White (1861- 1918 ) meant the memorial to be even more elaborate, with maritime embellishments (seashells, dolphins, tridents..the whole nine fathoms!) celebrating Britannia Rooling The Waves!
The ten metre tall piece would do any event cake proud as a decorative topper. The plinth and steps are Harcourt granite, with the four columns made from red Swedish granite finished with bronze, ionic capitals.
Queen Vicky, atop the ruddy great pile, and the four Art Nouveau young women nestled in niches, were controversially sculpted overseas from Italian Carrara marble….questions were asked in Trades Hall! The questionable likeness of the main statue to the Queen was also commented upon, the project not proving to be White’s artistic crowning glory.. The Allegorical ladies are established thus:
History- Alludes to the Queen’s marriage in 1840. The Latin is one of the monarch’s titles Fidei Defensor: Defender Of The Faith.
Justice- Her death - 1901. Indae Imperatrix = Empress Of India.
Not visible are Progress - The Queen’s birth- 1819 and Wisdom- Her reign 1837-1901
The Queen, in her official robes, juggles the usual symbols of monarchist power…orb and sceptre. She’s precariously balanced on top of a global hemisphere, and has lions perched around her, demanding to be fed and to have their ears scratched.