Friday, 14 October 2011

Casting Shadows


When in Canberra earlier this week, I lodged at the Hotel Kurrajong which is about two blocks from Old Parliament House and built at the same time - late 1920s. In the foyer of the K, they have old photographs showing empty paddocks stretching between the two. Fast forward 15 years, to the years of World War II, when the Prime Minister was John Curtin from Cottesloe in WA, and his Treasurer was Ben Chifley from Bathurst in NSW. Curtin died in office in 1945 (a few weeks after Rooseveldt) having been PM for 5 years. Chifley was PM from 1945 to 1949. During the war years, they used to walk to work from their lodgings.


This statue of their friendly morning ramble was unveiled about a month ago by our current PM, Julia Gillard from Altona in Victoria. It is based upon an iconic photograph which I have also included. It really is a terrific statue to stumble upon. Extremely life-like and very Australian in its accessibility and egalitarianism. The sculptor was Peter Corlett who was born in 1944. I cannot remember which street it is on, but it is very close to the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet (PM&C).

Chifley is the one with the pipe!

Curtin was a recovering alcoholic. Chifley had been a train-driver in his earlier life, and kept a mistress.

19 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

This is amazing, Julie. They really do look as if they'd stepped out of the photograph. One must almost feel like talking to them.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Mark said...

To be honest I really like Canberra but this feels like forced history. It looks like an impediment to footpath users (very ACT planned city). Prefer they were in a fountain or park.

Ali - Scituate Daily Photo said...

I love the detail in the first photograph, Julie!

Steffe said...

Keeping a mistress sounds like fun.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

These are great sculptures Julie, I hope Chifley kept his mistress well!

J Bar said...

What terrific sculptures and location. Thanks for the history.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Dianne said...

Stepping out in style - very realistic!
I hope you are enjoying your travels Julie!

Julie said...

Mark - That is an interesting comment: 'forced history'. Knowing that you are a history teacher, can you tell me more what you mean by this?

I like the location of this statue. This is where these two guys actually walked. I cannot see it as an impediment: not many people walk in Canberra nowadays. And I have other photographs of two little kids 'all over' the two statues and their mother trying to explain to them who these blokes were. She said, being a k1w1 made that a challenge!

Yes, they could have been in a park, there was one across the way, but that would not have been true to the photograph.

Another 'Canberra moment' coming up tomorrow. See what you think of that one.

I will reply to your email later today. Have to go into the city now and yell and scream at Teds Cameras!!

Ann said...

I like that statute, also the location, very approachable and doesn't glorify them. Must make a note of the Kurrajong. Keep intending to go down to Canberra for some of these exhibitions that don't come to Sydney but don't really want to stay at the YHA.

Yell at Teds - What's happened to the camera?

freefalling said...

That whole area around Kurrajong and Old Parliament House (with the beautiful rose garden - did you see the Suffragette's Fountain?) and the art gallery and the lake and all the lovely old trees, is just beautiful.

You might find this little story interesting:
http://rummage.typepad.com/rummage/2011/10/ghgffsad.html

Joan Elizabeth said...

I like the idea of them being on the move rather than posing in a park - but I can't help but notice the shadows ... Sunshine ... nothing but grey drizzle around here for days ... I'm sitting but a fire getting depressed.

Joe said...

Very neat to show the statues and the photo in one post.

Breathtaking said...

The sculptures are a great way of keeping history alive, and they are
very like the photos.Good job Julie

brattcat said...

love this!

Halcyon said...

Interesting statues. They really are lifelike!

Julie said...

Letty - I took your link. I think I have visited that exhibition, 'Mrs Prime Minister' before. Perhaps in 2009. It is a fascinating look behind the roles. I still find it difficult to realise that the Museum of Australian Democracy is actually Old Parliament House.

I knew that the Lyonses has 12 children. But did you also know that Dame Enid went on to become a very successful MP in her own right? Blasted Taswegians ...

Jilly said...

What a fascinating post. So glad you included the original photo. I love this, the sculpture and your photos of it.

Julie said...

Thank you, Jilly. Thank you friends. I am glad that a long, detailed post like this has provoked such interesting comments.

orvokki said...

How interesting statues. Those would be nice to see and experience.