Adam Lindsay Gordon Memorial 1931
Adam Lindsay Gordon Memorial
bronze statue on sandstone pedestal
Dimensions (H x W x D)
289 cm (overall height). 147 cm (sculpture); 142 cm (pedestal)
Inscribed on west face: ADAM LINDSAY GORDON 1835- 1875 / ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION
Inscribed on the north face: OF THE WORKS OF HIS HAND / BY SEA OR BY LAND / THE HORSE MAY AT LEAST RANK SECOND
Inscribed on the east face: HE SANG THE FIRST GREAT SONGS / THESE LANDS CAN CLAIM TO BE THEIR OWN
Erected by public subscription, 1931
City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection
Location: Gordon Reserve, Spring St
Seated bronze figure of poet and horseman Adam Lindsay Gordon depicted with book in one hand, a pencil in the other and his saddle under the chair. The bronze sits on a sandstone pedestal.
Heavily inscribed on each side, its north face reads: ‘Of the works of His hand by sea or by land, the horse may at least rank second’; its east face reads: ‘He sang the first great songs these lands can claim to be their own’.
Gordon was born in 1833 in the Azores, Portugal, where his maternal grandfather owned a plantation. A wild and impetuous youth, he was sent to South Australia by his family shortly after completing his education in England. Soon after his arrival in 1853 he became a constable in the mounted police, before trying his hand, unsuccessfully, at both politics and running sheep. In much debt, Gordon committed suicide in 1879.
In 1911, a public meeting was held to consider erecting a memorial to Gordon. The first subscription predated this meeting, with the Earl of Dudley donating £60 in 1910. A second meeting, held in 1912, was not well attended and the fund was still £1000 short. It was another two decades before the memorial was finally erected. Montford was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Society of British Sculptors for this work.