Adam Lindsay Gordon Memorial 1931

MONTFORD, Paul

Registration number

1086512

Artist/maker

MONTFORD, Paul

Title

Adam Lindsay Gordon Memorial

Production date

1931

Medium

bronze statue on sandstone pedestal

Dimensions (H x W x D)

289 cm (overall height). 147 cm (sculpture); 142 cm (pedestal)

Inscriptions

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

Credit line

Erected by public subscription, 1931
City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection

Keywords

Adam Lindsay Gordon, Paul Montford, Bronze statue, 1931, Gordon Reserve, Spring Street, Macarthur Street

Summary

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.