Sculptures of Melbourne

328 Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Sculptures of Melbourne

328 Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Staff Pick
56 m
3.76 km

Public sculptures in Melbourne CBD and surrounding gardens by Mark Holsworth, the author of Sculptures of Melbourne, a history of Melbourne's sculpture.

Sculptures of Melbourne

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Public sculptures in Melbourne CBD and surrounding gardens by Mark Holsworth, the author of Sculptures of Melbourne, a history of Melbourne's sculpture.


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Starting at the many sculptures in forecourt of the State Library of Victoria this walk takes in a range of public sculptures from the nineteenth century to contemporary sculptures. There are neo-classical bronze and marble sculptures on plinths, modern steel sculptures, unofficial street art sculptures and several sculptures that were made for kids.

It progresses down Swanston Walk, with a couple of detours, across the Yarra River through Victoria gardens and on to the forecourt of Australian Centre for Contemporary Art where Melbourne's most controversial sculpture, Vault (aka The Yellow Peril) now resides.
I have only made some sculptures points of interest and the walk does pass about a dozen other sculptures.

Most of the route is paved, but there is some walking on grass, so wear appropriate footwear. It will take much longer than time suggested because you may want to stop, look, walk around, sit on or even climb on some of the sculptures.

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Points of Interest

1. Architectural Fragment

Petrus Spronk 1992 sculpture is beloved by Melbourne's skateboard riders. It is also a fun piece of post-modernism quoting the neo-classical facade of the State Library.

2. La Trobe

Governor La Trobe by Peter Corlett, 2006. This is the only Peter Corlett sculpture on this walk but he has may more around Melbourne, its suburbs and the rest of the world.

3. The Public Purse, Simon Perry

In 1994, the City of Melbourne added what was described in the design brief as “unique and distinctive forms of street seating” in the streets, The Public Purse was one of them.

4. Three Businessmen Who Brought Their Own Lunch: Batman, Swanston and Hoddle

These figures by Alison Weaver and Paul Quinn were installed in Swanston St. the first public sculpture in Melbourne since Vault was removed from the City Square in 1981

5. Time and Tide

Akio Makigawa (born Japan 1948 - died in Perth 1999) has public sculptures in most Australian capital cities and several more in Melbourne.

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6. Burke and Wills Monument

This is the fourth location for that this monument has stood in Melbourne since 1865. It was originally cast in Charles Summers studio in Collins St. now the location of Burlington Chambers

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7. Larry La Trobe

Pam Irving’s bronze dog, “Larry La Trobe” was install in 1993 and stolen in 1995. The current sculpture a new edition cast from the original mould.

8. Warin

The wooden wombat, “Warin” was carved in situ in 2002 by Des McKenna. Another one for children to climb on.

9. Loretta Quinn, Beyond the Ocean of Existence, 1993

Loretta Quinn is the brother of Paul Quinn one of the sculptors of The Three Businessmen. Nearby there are painted pole by indigenous artists, Maree Clarke and Sonja Hodge

10. Street art sculptures in Hosier Lane

Along with all the aerosol art there are some unofficial street art sculptures in this lane. You will have to look carefully to find them.

11. Matthew Flinders Memorial

The sculptor Charles Web Gilbert, like to do everything himself, from the modelling to the casting of the sculptures.

12. Inge King, Forward Surge 1972-74

Installed in 1981 this modern fits perfectly into the curved architecture of the Arts Centre and Hamer Hall. The curves also delight children who try to climb them.

13. Apollo and Hercules

Politician and newspaper proprietor, Theodore Fink acquired these marble copies of classical sculpture on a holiday in Rome.

14. Tom Bass, The Genie, 1973

This sculpture is purpose built for children to play on. Sydney sculptor Tom Bass has several other sculptures around Melbourne and at Melbourne University.

15. Paul Montford, The Water Nypmh, 1920

Paul Montford brought this sculpture with him when he emigrated to Australia in 1923. It was the first public sculpture bought by Melbourne City Council.

16. The Phoenix

Originally large curved feathers, or flames, were once attached at several points over the body of the sculpture. These have broken off and only fragments of two remain.

17. The Pathfinder

An edition of English/Australian sculptor John Robinson 1974 bronze sculpture of a hammer thrower. Only six years after this sculpture the Melbourne City Council installed Vault in the City Square.

18. Edward VII Memorial

The sculptor Bertram Mackennal was born in Fitzroy but became Australia's first international art star.

19. Vault, Ron Robertson-Swann

In 1980 this sculpture was in the City Square and Melbourne was divided by the controversy over this sculpture. In 1981 it was moved to Batman Park by the Yarra River.


Public Transport Public Transport
Playground Playground
Drinking water available Drinking water available
Seating available Seating available
Pram friendly Pram friendly
Historical interest Historical interest
Art and culture Art and culture
Park / Garden Park / Garden