To put it simply. Melbourne IS art.
They have world famous baristas creating art on coffees, markets becoming a hub for creatives to talk about and buy handmade art, valleys that are sprayed and stencilled in technicolour brilliance reflecting issues and controversies the world faces. Inspirational art is hidden everywhere in Melbourne, sometimes in the smallest corners of the city and at times right in front of your face, yet there is barely any inspirational public art statue representing females.
CURRENTLY IN MELBOURNE THERE ARE 580 STATUES AND ONLY 1.5% CELEBRATE REAL WOMEN.
Current Statues of Women in Melbourne
Betty Cuthbert (1938-2017) was the first Australian athlete to win Olympic gold on Australian soil. She has achieved 16 world records, three gold medals at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, Olympic gold in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and is known as "The Golden Girl". Her statue by artist Louis Laumen is located at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in East Melbourne.
Shirley Strickland (1925-2004) was one of Australia's greatest athletes, winning seven medals in three successive Olympic games. Strickland was also known for her impressive work as a conservationist. Her statue by artist Louis Laumen is located at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in East Melbourne.
Tayla Harris (1997- ) is an Australian rules footballer playing for the Carlton Football Club in the AFLW and boxer. Tayla was Carlton's leading goalkicker in three out of her four seasons at the club. In 2020, she was ranked the world's fourth best active female middleweight boxer. Her statue by artist Terrance Plowright depicts Harris kicking a goal during a match against the Western Bulldogs as photographed by Michael Willson. Her statue is currently located at NAB's Docklands headquarters.
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc (1412-1432) was the national heroine of France who led the French army in a momentous victory at Orléans. Her achievement was a decisive factor in the later awakening of French nationalism. Her statue, by artist Emmanuel Frémiet is located outside the National Gallery of Victoria.
Mary Gilbert was the first European woman to migrate to Victoria. Her statue by artist Alisa O'Connor was commissioned for the 1975 International Woman's Year and is located at Fitzroy Gardens.
Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931) born Helen Porter Mitchell was an Australian opera singer who became one of the most famous singers of the early 20th century and the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician. During the WWI, Melba raised significant sums of money for war charities. Her statue by artist Peter Corlett is located at Waterfront City in Melbourne Docklands.
Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom from 1837 until her death. Her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than any previous British monarch. Her statue by artist John Swan Davie was originally unveiled in Market Square but was later moved to the entrance of Eastern Park in Geelong.
Gladys Nicholls (1906-1981) was committed to working towards the welfare of the underprivileged as well as for women's rights and Indigenous rights. Her statue by artist Louis Laumen depicts Gladys with her husband and is located at Parliament Gardens in East Melbourne. It is the first statue in Melbourne dedicated to Indigenous leaders. The etching artworks on the statue were completed by artist Ngarra Murray.
Mary MacKillop (1842-1909) was the first Australian to be recognised as a Saint. She founded Australia’s first order of nuns, and established St. Joseph’s School providing free education to children from the area. In 2012, Archbishop Denis Hart, unveiled a statue of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop on the grounds of St Patrick’s Cathedral, East Melbourne. Artist Louis Laumen explains, “The statue portrays a young and vibrant Mary descending a staircase, as if she had just been upstairs to put on her habit for the very first time.”
Great Australian Women – Statues of Inspiration
Australia is a place filled with extreme environments, pulsing cities, and full of inspirational women. Fighting for social justice, making advancements in health care and science, blazing the sports fields, and making their mark in parliament, the list of amazing women and their achievements is vast. This is a thing of pride for Australia, a pride for the strong and talented women that fill the country. They are an inspiration for all and our leaders of the future.
Internationally renowned Australian public artists Gillie and Marc Schattner, want to create a celebration of some of the most inspirational Australian women of our time to be displayed for all to see.
Nova Peris will be the first woman to be created in Bronze and will be displayed at Federation Square for Reconciliation Week 2021.