John Pascoe Fawkner Statue
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
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.