Queen Victoria Statue
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
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
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.
|This statue of Queen Victoria
was located in Ireland,
aquired and brought to
Sydney by Neil Glasser
Director of Promotions
Queen Victoria Building
|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,
Unveiled on 20th December , 1987 by
Sir Eric Neal, Chief Commissioner
L.P. Carter, O.B.E.
Sir Nicholas Shehadie, O.B.E.,
Deputy Chief Commissioner
Mr Norman Oakes, A.O.
Controversial 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."
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
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
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."
Comparing Queen Victoria Statues
: Yes, as I feared, she is never depicted without, her ball, stick and crown (throne,
however, is optional).
Sydney (1888) Sydney (1904) Brisbane