William Bede Dalley Statue

William Bede Dalley Statue, Hyde Park, Sydney

Public Art : William Bede Dalley Statue

Nickname : The Green Man (because of his green patina)

Sculptor : © James White (2 December 1861 – 14 July 1918)

Date : Unveiled 1898

Description : The lifesize bronze depicts well known lawyer and member of Parliament, William Dede Dalley, in his iconic buttoned coat, which he habitually wore. The statue stands on a polished granite pedestal supported on a tiered stone base. The statue is an example of a "lost wax" casting process, used for centuries and which became popular during the Renaissance period (14th to 17th centuries) in Italy and France.

Funded : By Public Subsciption

Location : North East section of Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia.

Inscription :

The Right Honourable

William Bede Dalley P.C.
scholar, patriot,

Erected by Public Subscription


Born in this city
Aug, 5th 1831
Oct, 28th 1888

Who was William Bede Dalley? So who is the mysterious "green man" who stands half hidden amongst the trees of Hyde Park? William Bede Dalley was born in Sydney, George Street to be exact, on the 5th July, 1831. His Irish parents, John Dalley and Catherine Spillane, had arrived in Australia as convicts.

A wonderful speech maker it wasn't surprising that the short, thickset, jovial Dalley would seek a career in both law and politics. He was called to the bar in 1856 and the following year he was elected to the Legislative Assembly as one of the representatives of Sydney (City).In 1858, he successfully contested Cumberland Boroughs. In 1861 Dalley was appointed a commissioner of emigration by the New South Wales government and with fellow commissioner Henry Parkes, set sail to England for a year.

On his return he took up his legal practice again. His most prominent case as leading counsel was his defence of Irishman Henry James O'Farrell, who was the first man in Australia history to attempt a political assassination. The intended target was Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria. O'Farrell came up behind the Prince during the Sailor's Picnic in Clontarf, Sydney, and fired a revolver into his back. Luckily for the Prince six nurses trained by Florence Nightingale,  had arrived in Australia the month before under Matron Lucy Osburn and nursed him back to health. Despite all efforts to get O'Farrell aquitted on the grounds of insanity he was found guilty and hanged.

In 1872 much to the horror of the Catholic church Dalley married an Anglican woman, Eleanor Jane Long. Sadly she died of typhoid fever 9 years later leaving Dalley with six young children. He left political life for several years to look after his family.

In 1875 Dalley became the Attorney-General of New South Wales and was nominated to the Legislative Council. In 1877 he became a Q.C.

Dalley was a renown  fashion trend setter often seen dressed in colorful cravats and buttonholes. He loved hosting dinner party's and would call friends and acquaintances alike 'old boy'.

On 28th October 1888, Dalley died at his house, Annerly, Darling Point, from cardiac disease, renal disease and uraemia. As the country mourned a great Australian Patriot moves were already underway to erect a statue in his honour. The location, Hyde park, where the statue could look down Macquarie Street to the Law Courts and Parliament House.  

History of the William Bede Dalley Statue : When William Dalley died in 1888 a public subscription for a statue was initiated by colleagues and friends. A committee, lead by Sir John Robertson was set up and  included the who's who of Sydney's business, legal, judicial, church and parliamentary elite, amongst them being Lieutenant Governor Sir Alfred Stephen and Chief Justice Sir Frederick Darley. Despite this, it still took nearly 10 years for the "green man" to be erected. The commission was given to the award winning, James White, who, at his small foundry at Petersham, used the lost wax process to cast the statue.



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