Janet Lady Clarke Memorial Sculpture 1913
Janet Lady Clarke Memorial Sculpture
white marble, concrete, stamped copper
Dimensions (H x W x D)
600 cm (overall height)
THIS BUILDING ERECTED BY THE PUBLIC OF VICTORIA / AS A TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF A HIGH EXAMPLE / OF BENEFICENCE AND PUBLIC SPIRIT / JANET LADY CLARKE / WAS COMMITTED TO THE PERPETUAL CARE OF THE / CITY CORPORATION OF MELBOURNE / BY THE SUBSCRIBERS / SEPTEMBER 24TH 1913
Erected by public subscription, 1913
City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection
Location: Queen Victoria Gardens
In 1873, Janet Snodgrass married wealthy pastoralist William Clarke, who was made Australia’s first baronet in 1882. The Clarkes were generous philanthropists, with sympathy for a great many causes. Their wealth and social standing made them influential, and they used this to their advantage to raise awareness of and funds for various local causes.
Lady Clarke sat on many committees, including the Women’s National League, Women’s Hospital Committee and the Talbot Colony for Epileptics. She was particularly active in supporting education. While Lady Clarke became the inaugural president of the National Council of Women of Victoria in 1902 and of the Australian Women’s National League in 1904, she was not a supporter women’s suffrage.
Lady Clarke died in 1909, and upon her death a memorial fund was established. Herbert Black’s design for a Grecian-style, white marble rotunda won the public competition. It can accommodate 100 musicians and offers a quiet place to contemplate the view across Queen Victoria Gardens. In part, the inscription on the rotunda reads: ‘A tribute to the memory of a high example / of beneficence and public spirit’.