The Governor Philip Fountain is the only large neo-classical fountain in Sydney and was the most expensive public sculpture produced in Australia in the 19th century.
It was unveiled on 22 June 1897.
Crafted from Italian bronze and marble, it took seven years to complete and cost £14 000 (at the time, the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens annual salary was only £550).
Who knows what motivated the composition of large mythological figures representing mining, agriculture, commerce and navigation and self-conscious Australian motifs? Look closely and you will find wheat, sheep and waratahs and also four small bas-reliefs of Aborigines.
All this in honour of the towering figure of Captain Arthur Philip, first Governor of New South Wales.
Conservation of the monument was generously supported by the Department of Public Works and Services through the Minister’s Stonework Program.
– Achille Simonetti 1897
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