Lord Forrest Memorial
Public Art: Lord Forrest Memorial
Also Known As: John Forrest statue
Sculptor : © Sir Edgar Betram MacKennal
Description of the Lord Forrest Memorial :
The portly bronze figure of the State's first Premier, John Forrest, dressed in
robes looks down on the city of Perth from his granite plinth. While John Forrest's statue looks over the
city, his brother's statue (Alexander Forest) stands in the center of
Date Unveiled : The Lord Forrest Memorial was
unveiled on the 28th August 1927.
Funding: The statue was commissioned by Sir James
Mitchell and the £2,000 needed was raised via public subscription
Location : Middle of a roundabout, Fraser Avenue,
Kings Park, Western Australia.
Explorer - Statesman
First President of this park
Lord FORREST PC, GCMG, HON LLD (Cantab Adelaide, W.Aust.) FRGS, FGS, FLS, Hon. Fellow of the Italian
Geographical Society and of the Imperial Geographical Societies of Vienna and St Petersburg, Knight of
the Italian Crown, etc.
Born at Bunbury, WA of Scottish parents. As a crown Surveyor led exploring expeditions 1869-1874.
Surveyor General and Commissioner of Crown Lands 1883-1890.
Premier and Colonial Treasurer of WA 1891-1901.
Secured enlargement of King's Park 1890 and its development from 1895 under a board of which he became
Entered Commonwealth Parliament 1901. Postmaster General 1901. Minister for Defence 1901-03 for Home
Affairs 1903-04, Treasurer 1905-07, 1909-10, 1913-14, 1917-18 Acting Prime Minister 1907 created Baron
of Bunbury and of Forrest Fifeshire 1918. Buried in Karrakatta cemetery.
He was chiefly responsible for the construction of Fremantle harbour 1998 the eastern goldfields water
scheme 1903 and the transcontinental railway 1917.
Statue by Sir Bertram McKennal. RA Erected 1928 by public subscription of £2,000.
So who was Sir John Forrest ?: Well, John Forrest (22
August 1847 – 2 September 1918) was Western Australia's first Premier. He was also a well known surveyor,
explorer and politican. John and his less 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 was responsible for bringing the brilliant
engineer, C.Y.O'Connor, to Western Australia as Engineer-in-Chief . Between the two of them they 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 moved from local politics to 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 decided to seek specialist treatment in
England. Unfortunately the portly politician died during the journey, somewhere off the coast of Sierra Leone. The
body was 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' fiasco and the death of Tom Edwards.
Controversy Alright! : How
to upset local artists, you may well ask. Well, don't give them a commission for starters. One of Perth's
leading artists at the time, Pietro Porcelli (along with several fellow local artists), was overlooked to create the John
Forrest statue, because he wasn't considered good enough. This, despite the fact that Pietro
had sculpted a bust of John Forrest and also a life size bronze of his brother Alexander Forrest. Pietro was so peeved he left the State. Unfortunately while working on the
Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne he was hit by a car and thrown under a tram. Left a broken man, Pietro
returned to Perth.
John Forrest Trivia : While John Forrest was often
referred to as Lord Forrest, this was technically incorrect, just prior to his death he was informed that he was to
be raised to the British peerage as 1st Baron Forrest of Bunbury, but the peerage was never legally created.
Poor Forrest died enroute to England where he was to receive treatment for cancer.