A volunteer cleans the moss out of the statue's ears in the Tondoon Botanic Gardens.
A volunteer cleans the moss out of the statue's ears in the Tondoon Botanic Gardens. Gladstone Art Gallery and Museum

Mr Gladstone's movements

FOR most of its 125 years the marble statue of William Gladstone was spent exposed to the outdoor elements.

The date of it's sculpting and the name of it's creator is unknown, but it is believed the block of marble originated from a quarry in Carrara, Tuscany, the same area marble was taken for Michelangelo's statue of David.

The statue was placed in Centennial Park, Sydney, in 1895 along with 32 other statues.

Records indicate in 1946 the statue had been damaged, notably a broken nose, shoe and several chips.

 

MOVING MR GLADSTONE: After a century outside Mr Gladstone's statue was moved indoors.
MOVING MR GLADSTONE: After a century outside Mr Gladstone's statue was moved indoors. Gladstone Art Gallery and Museum

It was removed from the park during the 1970s and placed in store for restoration.

In 1986 a Gladstone music teacher, Mr Gary Matherson, discovered the statue during a visit to Sydney and reported the find to the then Gladstone Mayor, Col Brown.

 

MOVING MR GLADSTONE: After a century outside Mr Gladstone's statue was moved indoors.
MOVING MR GLADSTONE: After a century outside Mr Gladstone's statue was moved indoors. Gladstone Art Gallery and Museum

After lengthy negotiations, the statue was transferred to Gladstone and erected at the Gladstone Tondoon Botanic Gardens and unveiled February 27 1992, by Her Royal Highness, Katharine, The Duchess of Kent.

The statue was cared for by council staff. This included regular removal of the moss that grew in Mr Gladstone's ears.

 

MOVING MR GLADSTONE: After a century outside Mr Gladstone's statue was moved indoors.
MOVING MR GLADSTONE: After a century outside Mr Gladstone's statue was moved indoors. Gladstone Art Gallery and Museum

In 2003, after more than a century exposed to the elements, Gladstone Regional Council decided to move the statue into the climate controlled conditions of the Gallery & Museum.

The 1.5 tonne statue was relocated from the gardens to its current location at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum.

 

MOVING MR GLADSTONE: After a century outside Mr Gladstone's statue was moved indoors.
MOVING MR GLADSTONE: After a century outside Mr Gladstone's statue was moved indoors. Gladstone Art Gallery and Museum

State of the art lighting makes it possible for the statue to be viewed by passers-by at any time of the day and night.

Mr Gladstone may not have visited Gladstone, but his statue currently enjoys views of Goondoon Street and is an integral part of the City Heart streetscape.



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