Queen Victoria Statue

Queen Victoria Statue, George St, Sydney

Public Art : Queen Victoria Statue

Nickname : This statue (and the queen) was referred to by James Joyce as the Auld Bitch aka "famine queen".

Sculptor : © John Hughes (1865-1941)

Date Unveiled : Unveiled by King Edward VII in 1904 in Dublin, Ireland. Re-commemorated in December 1987 after being re-erected in Sydney.

Description : A bronze statue of a sitting Queen Victoria.

Location : The Queen Victoria Statue originally stood outside Leinster House, Dublin, Ireland (The Seat of The Irish Parliament) until 1947. Today, she sits outside the Queen Victoria Building, George Street, Sydney, looking down her Royal sceptre (staff), at the pedestrians.

Inscription :

This statue of Queen Victoria
was located in Ireland,
aquired and brought to
Sydney by Neil Glasser
Director of Promotions
Queen Victoria Building
1983-1987

At the request of the City of Sydney
this statue of Queen Victoria
was presented by the
Government and people of Ireland
in a spirit of goodwill and friendship.

Until 1947, it stood in front of
Leinster House, Dublin,
The Seat of The Irish Parliament.

Sculptured by John Hughes, RHA,
Dublin 1865-1941

Unveiled on 20th December , 1987 by
Sir Eric Neal, Chief Commissioner

L.P. Carter, O.B.E.
Town Clerk

Sir Nicholas Shehadie, O.B.E.,
Deputy Chief Commissioner

Mr Norman Oakes, A.O.
Commissioner


Queen Victoria Statue, George St, SydneyControversial history of the Queen Victoria Statue : The controversial statue of Queen Victoria was created by Irish sculptor, John Hughes, in 1904. The statue was unveiled by King Edward VII on the Kildare front of Leinster House (which was at the time the headquarters of the Royal Dublin Society), in Ireland. When Leinster House became the official seat of Oireachtas Eireann (the parliament of the Irish Free State) the statue became the focus of extreme scrutiny and criticism. Surprisingly, she escaped being blown up (but I guess, only just). Many were horrified that a statue of Queen Victoria could still be standing outside the front of the parliament of the Irish Free State. By 1947 they had had enough and she was unceremoniously removed and thrown into the main courtyard (along with some disused State carriages) at The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham. There she sat year after year, with nobody quite knowing what to do with her. She was put on the market, but not a soul was interested in the "Auld Bitch". Luckily, Australia came to the rescue, in 1983, when the Sydney City Council began a worldwide search for an "unwanted" statue of Queen Victoria (what were the chances?), to be erected outside of the Queen Victoria Building. Imagine the luck of the Irish when they got wind of this. A quick search located the rather neglected queen in the small town of Daingean (don't ask me how it ended up there). The Republic of Ireland were so happy to off load the statue, they decided to give it to the people of Sydney in the spirit of "goodwill". In the late 1980's she left Ireland for good and arrived for a fresh start in Australia, to mark Sydney's 200th anniversary, in 1987. So now she sits high on her throne, looking down on the people of Sydney, being relatively ignored, as if she was still in Ireland.

Well I Never ! : During a Parliament sitting held on 28 May 1974 in Dublin the speaker (Mr Lemass) was quoted as saying  " I think we all agree it is one of the most ugly statues of that royal lady."

Queen Victoria, Ireland

Having once been moved from the plinth in Leinster house to Parliament St Dublin, Queen Victoria was again shifted from the front of the old Parliament Building in Nassau St, Dublin in 1946 and stored by the Office of public Works. In the 1980's Dr. Garrett Fitzgerald was asked by the Governor of the State of Victoria if he could have the Statue. After great searching it was found in an old Office of Public Works warehouse and presented by the Taoiseach on behalf of the people of Ireland to the State of Victoria.
This premises where it had rested since the mid 20's on Parliament St, Dublin, now houses the headquarters of the Bank of Ireland

Photograph and text compliments of www.generalmichaelcollins.com

 

Queen Victoria statue, Ireland, public art, wiki

Absolutely Useless Information : On the 30th of July, 2008, a pair of Queen Victoria's knickers sold at auction for £4,500 pounds, that is about $9,000 US. The enormous bloomers, with a 127 cm waist, are monogrammed and crested (confirming that they are hers) and date back to the 1890's. Bless, what does one do with them ?

Background of Queen Victoria: Queen Victoria (1819 -1901) was the longest reigning monarch of Britain (total of 63 years, seven months and two days), denying her son Edward VII the throne for nearly 65 years. Her other claim to fame was that during her rule the British Empire was in virtual peace, no wars or major conflicts. It became known as the 'Pax Britannica' or 'British Peace'. The love of her life was Prince Albert . When he died, the Queen took to wearing black and became somewhat of a recluse, very rarely venturing out from behind the walls of Windsor and earning the nickname the "Widow of Windsor". She blamed her son Edward VII for her husband's death because she believed he had contracted typhoid fever whilst sorting out one of Edward's playboy "messes" in Cambridge. His mother was quoted as saying "I never can, or shall, look at him without a shudder."

Queen Victoria Statue, George St, Sydney  Queen Victoria Statue, George St, Sydney

Queen Victoria Statue, George St, Sydney  Queen Victoria Statue, George St, Sydney

Comparing Queen Victoria Statues : Yes, as I feared, she is never depicted without, her ball, stick and crown (throne, however, is optional).

Queen Victoria Monument, Sydney, Australia Queen Victoria Statue, George St, Sydney, Australia  Queen Victoria Statue Brisbane, Australia

        Sydney (1888)                Sydney (1904)           Brisbane (1906)

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