The 4.8-hectare Queen Victoria Gardens located opposite to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), is bound by St Kilda Road, Alexandra Avenue and Linlithgow Avenue. The Gardens were established to honour the memory of Queen Victoria after her death in 1901.
The land was reserved in the Domain Parklands close to Yarra River for a garden and a memorial. Queen Victoria Gardens forms part of the larger group of parklands known as Domain Parklands which also include, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kings Domain and Alexandra Gardens.
Just opposite to the NGV, a few steps down, a path is reached with fine marble busts on each side of Farnex Hercules and Belvedere Apollo. Farnex Hercules is a replica of Farnese Hercules, held by the Vatican Museum in Rome and was donated to the city by well-known solicitor, politician, newspaper proprietor and educationalist Theodore Fink in 1928.
The most prominent of the monuments in the Garden is Queen Victoria Memorial, sculpted by James White in Italy. The statue is installed on a mount to make it more prominent. The Queen Victoria statue was unveiled on Empire Day, 24May 1907 by Sir John Madden, the lieutenant Governor. The eight-ton monument cost around 6000 pounds. The Queen is represented standing, crowned and wearing robes of state. The female figures on each side are indicative of the Queen’s birth, marriage, reign and death. The Queen is flanked by imperial lions.
Along with Queen Victoria, her son King Edward VII is also honoured at the Garden. Erection of a memorial for the King was initiated soon after his death in 1910. But the project got delayed due to the outbreak of World War I. The memorial was unveiled in 21st July 1920 by Governor General Sir Ronald Ferguson. Edgar Bertram Mackennal was the sculptor.
In front of the King Edward Memorial is the Floral Clock which is ticking from 1966. The clock mechanism was donated to the City by Swiss watch makers. Up to 10,000 seedlings are planted twice a year to give the floral clock a fully coloured appearance.
Apart from these main monuments, the garden has an array of sculptures. Genie, the fantasy play sculpture for Children, sculpted by Tom Bass, is a play equipment which has the characteristics of an Egyptian Cat with a lion.
The Lady Janet Clarke Memorial Rotunda was erected to honour the memory of Jane Clarke, wife of Sir William John Clarke, landowner, stud-breeder and philanthropist. Designed by Herbert Black in Grecian Style, the rotunda can accommodate upto 100 musicians. It was dedicated to the public on 24th September 1913.
Artist John Robinson’s Pathfinder is a hammer throwing man which was commissioned by mining giant Conzinc Riotinto (Rio Tinto) in the 70’s to install at their proposed new building frontage. The building failed to go ahead and the Pathfinder was loaned to the City of Melbourne. It was unveiled by Lord Mayor, Whalley in April 1974. The hammer was stolen many times and replaced but nowadays the man is without the hammer.
The ‘Phoenix’ by Baroness Yrsa Von Leister was sculpted for the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Melbourne following the 40th international Eucharistic Congress in 1973. Arch Bishop Cardinal knox donated it to the city of Melbourne.
The Water Nymph is a kneeling bronze figure of a young woman stroking her hair sculptured in 1925 by Paul Montford. The statue was purchased by the City of Melbourne and was unveiled in September 1925.
The Frog sculpture by John Olsen in a new entry to the gardens. Cast in Bronze, towering more than two metres, it was donated to the City of Melbourne by Wonderment Walk Victoria in 2015
Address: St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004
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What you can do here: Wedding Venue, Wedding Photography, Take a walk through the park, Learn about the history of the sculptures in the park