Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Captain Cook Statue at Endeavour Hills

A statue of Captain James Cook was unveiled in Endeavour Hills in November 1973 outside the first sales office on the corner of Joseph Banks Crescent and Heatherton Road (the building is now a medical centre).  The statue was created by Marc Clark. The community newsletter, the Endeavour Gazette of March 30, 1974 reported that it was unveiled by Norman Banks, a descendant of Sir Joseph Banks, the Botanist on Cook's ship, the Endeavour.   Mr Banks said that the 'face is modelled after the only two portraits for which Cook sat in person and there has been tremendous attention to detail in the uniform. His [Clark's] wife was the curator of costumes at the National Gallery of Victoria and had provided valuable aid to her husband in this respect'.  Mr Paul Day, the Project Manager of Endeavour Hills said that the statue was the symbol of Endeavour Hills and he hoped that it would help develop a strong sense of local identity.


The statue was used on early sales brochures - this is from 1974

A new sales office opened around July 1979 on the corner of Matthew Flinders Avenue and Monkhouse Drive. The statue was then moved from the original location to the new sales office in Matthew Flinders Drive. The Endeavour Hills Gazette of July 1979 reported that 'The statue of Captain James Cook has been moved to the new location and has been sited in a commanding position on a large area of undulating ground which has been sown to lawn'.

The statue remained outside the sales office building, even though it ceased being a sales office around 1993 and was leased out to a Radiology group. In March 1996,  the building and the statue went up for auction. The statue is now located in the Fitzroy Gardens, near Cook's Cottage. The Melbourne Encyclopedia http://www.emelbourne.net.au/ says it was donated to the City of Melbourne and installed in July 1997. It would be interesting to know who purchased the sculpture at the auction (if anyone) and who donated it as it was a generous thing to do.



Sales flyer for the statue


Sales flyer for the building, showing the statue in situ

The artist who created the sculpture was Marc Clark. On the back of the sales flyer for the sculpture, there are some biographical details of Mr Clark. He was born in London in 1923, studied at the Canterbury School of Art, served in the 9th Queens's Royal Lancers from 1942 to 1947 and then studied sculpture at the Royal Collage of Arts in London.  After various jobs he arrived in Australia in 1962 and lectured at the Caulfield Institute of Technology, was Drawing and Sculpture Master at the National Gallery Art School and later lectured at the Victorian College of the Arts. Other works he was commissioned for include  a statue of the late Queen of Tonga; a statue of the first Australian  Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton in Canberra; a  statue of Governor Bligh in Sydney and  a statue of Matthew Flinders in Mornington.  

No comments: