John Pascoe Fawkner Statue

John Pascoe Fawkner Statue, Melbourne, Australia

Public Art : John Pascoe Fawkner Statue

Sculptor : © Michael Mezaros

Date : Unveiled 26th of January 1979.

Description : A bronze statue of a squatting John Pascoe Fawkner (he was only 5ft 2"). In his hand he holds a stick as though drawing in the ground. When I was there last time, I heard one tourist say to the another "why is he holding a stick?". Without a moments hestiation the other replied " to play naughts and crosses, silly!".

Commissioned by: Melbourne City Council

Cost : $ 23,000

Location: National Mutual Plaza off Collins Street in Melbourne, Australia.

Background of John Pascoe Fawkner : John Pascoe Fawkner (1792-1869) was only 5ft 2" and had a terrier like personality. Fawkner was born in London but ventured to Australia after his father (a metalworker) was transported there, after receiving stolen goods in 1803. In 1804 the Fawkner family were part of a group of convicts sent to found the Port Phillip settlement. This turned out to be a disaster for everyone involved and it wasn't long before the group found themselves in the safer and more civilized Tasmanian settlement in Derwent. During Fawkner's early years he became a farmer like his father and also got into trouble like his father. In 1814 he was given a nice little whipping of 500 lashes and a 3 years hard labour sentence for helping the escape of seven convicts. When he was eventually released he became a baker in Hobart then Launceston, until he and his father were implicated in a robbery at some government stores. He later became a hotelier  (Cornwall Hotel) and a newspaper boss, establishing the Launceston Advertiser (1829). His paper was notorious for taking digs at bureaucracy and the general establishment. In 1834, he organised a party to venture back to the area near the abandoned settlement of Port Phillip. Unbeknownst to him, John Batman had already beaten him to the punch and was negotiating land from the Geelong Aboriginals. Despite this, when Fawkner arrived at the site, soon to be known as Melbourne, he built himself a hotel on what is now Flinders Street, between Market and Williams st. In 1838 Fawkner set up Melbourne's first newspaper, the Melbourne Advertiser and then the Patriot where he devoted his time to attacking the editors of his rivals the Gazette and the Herald. In later life Fawkner became a member of the first Legislative Council and a member of the Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Eureka affair. Though he made many enemies throughout his life (mainly through being so arrogant), when he died over 15,000 turned out for his funeral (maybe just to make sure he was dead!).

History of the John Pascoe Fawkner Statue: The John Pascoe Fawkner is located near the site of the first hotel (which he owned) and of the first land sales in June 1837. Ironically the statue is located right next to his arch rival John Batman.




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