John Forrest Monument

John Forrest Monument, Bunbury, Western Australia

Public Art : John Forrest Monument

Sculptor : © Mark Lebuse

Date : 1979

Description : A rather enormous head depicting John Forrest, explorer, surveyor and politician. Not looking at all amused Forrest's head is made from what looks like cement (could be wrong) and is showing signs of wear, especially around the nose.  

Location : St Paul's place, on the corner of Victoria and Stephen streets, Bunury (right next to public toilets).

Inscription :

Lord Forrest
Baron of Bunbury Explorer and Stateman
Sculpted by Mark LeBuse
Made possible by donations from
Bon Marche
Laporte (Australia)
Lighthouse LTD
Boans Bunbury LTD
Clifton Beach
Perth Building Sciety
Chamber of Commerce (Bunbury)
Pauls Chrysler
Cable Sands LTD
Jetset Tours
Bell Basic industries
Bank of NSA (Bunbury)
WA Building Society
Budget rent-a-car
Picton Truck Centre
A City of Bunbury Arts Council Project

So who was Sir John Forrest ?: Well, John Forrest (22 August 1847 – 2 September 1918) was considered to be Western Australia's greatest son. He was a well known surveyor, explorer, politican and the State's first Premier of Western Australia, but best of all he was a local. Yes, John and his not so famous brother Alexander Forrest ,were born in the small town of Bicton, near Bunbury in Western Australia . John Forrest started his career as a surveyor and explorer, often working along side his brother. He later became the first Premier of Western Australia and was instrumental in creating large scale public works projects. Forrest persistently pestered the brilliant engineer, C.Y.O'Connor, to work in Western Australia and after finally succeeding, the two were responsible for the rapid development of the State. Some of their greatest achievements included the Fremantle Harbour, the Goldfields Pipeline and an extensive railway system.   

In 1900 Forrest embarked on a career in Federal Politics and in October of the same year he accepted the position of Postmaster-General in Edmund Barton's federal government. This role was short lived as he was given the opportunity to take the Defense portfolio which had been made available due to the death of Sir James Dickson. During  his career in Federal politics John Forrest served as Minister for Defence, Minister for Home Affairs, Treasurer and acting Prime Minister.

In 1917, Forrest was diagnosed with cancer and in a bid to seek specialist treatment he set off for England in 1918. Unfortunately the portly politician died during the journey, somewhere off the coast of Sierra Leone. The body was later taken to the West African country and buried there. His remains were later retrieved and reburied in Perth's Karrakatta Cemetery, right in the middle the 'Battle of the Barricades' and the death of Tom Edwards.

Background to the John Forrest Monument : The monument was the brain child of a local businessman (can not find a name) who commissioned sculptor Mark Lebuse to create the head of Sir John Forrest. I assume the sculpture was in honour of Western Australia's 150th anniversary celebrations.

Oh Dear ! : Besides being a tad worse for wear, poor old Lord Forrest's head is inappropriate located right next to public toilet (kind of creepy really!). No wonder he doesn't look amused.

Trivia : Technically John Forrest was not a Lord, just prior to his death he was informed that he was to become 1st Baron Forrest of Bunbury, but died before the paperwork was complete (hate it when that happens).

John Forrest being quite a large man (about 120kg) you would think he would have been a jovial sort of fellow, evidently not, from all acounts he had NO sense of humor (which makes you think he really wouldn't see the funny side of being plonked near public toilets!).

Other Forrest Related Statues and Sculptures :

Lord Forrest Memorial

Alexander Forrest Statue





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