Statues of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens

 

Stoddart Statues


THOMAS STODDART

1828 - 1905
Thomas Stoddart bought 12 white marble statues during a visit to Italy.  Stoddart arranged for them to be shipped to Victoria and placed on pedestals of Sicilian marble and on bases of Victgorian granite.  These statues were unveiled in the gardens on Queen Victoria's birthday, 24th May, 1884.  His intention was for the statues to adorn and add interest to the gardens.  Stoddart's gift inspired the moves to make Ballarat a "City of Statues".

 

1Spring

Spring is a maiden wearing a toga dress and has a floral wreath on head and carrying a posy.

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2.  Summer

Summer with handle of sickle and holding a sheaf of grain, symbolising harvest time.

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3Autumn

Autumn is holding a bunch of grapes symbolic of the vintage.

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4Winter

Wizened old man portecting himself again the winter chills.

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5 Flora Farnese

The noble Roman Farnese family statue of Flora, goddess of spring, shown with stylised dress and flowers in hair.

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OTHER STATUES

WALLACE

Thomson was born in Scotland in 1818 and arrived in Australia in 1852.  The Wallace statue is a tribute to his Scottish ancestry.  At the time of its unveiling the statue was claimed to be the biggest that had been made south of the equator.  Wallace is depicted standing on Abbey Craig at Stirling in 1297, waiting for the British to cross Stirling Bridge.  He has to decide the right moment for a horn to be sounded as a signal for his forces to fall upon the enemy.  With the defeat of the British forces, Wallace became recognised as a great Scottish hero.

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LION STATUES

David Ham 1830 - 1908

David Ham MLC donated the two marble lions in 1893.  These were characteristic of grand entrances in 19th Century landscapes and the lions were also an emblem of the strength of the British nation.

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6 Leda

Wife of the king of Sparta who was seduced by Zeus in the guise of a swan.

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7Hebe

Greek goddess of eternal youth with the power to restore to age the vigour of youth and was cup-bearer to the gods.

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8Mercury

Messenger of the gods shown with winged helmet and pouch.

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9Hercules

Greek hero of great strength and courage wearing his lion skin and massive club. Killed his children and had to achieve atonement performing 12 special labours.

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10. Bacchante

Priestess to Bacchus, God of wine and good times, and so associated with wild orgies.

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11. Flora

Roman goddess of flowers is watering flowers at her feet and is dressed in a classical garment.

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12. Pomona

Roman Goddess of fruit trees and her care for their cultivation brings fruitful abundance.

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STATUARY HOUSE FOR THOMSON STATUES

The statuary Pavilion, in 1888, was designed by Ballarat architect T.E. Molloy and is of national historic and architectural significance. It is unusual for its top-lit central lantern and curved roofs.  The statues are seen to their best advantage because of the provision of all-round and top natural lighting.

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