Feb 17, 2013

Sturt Street Walking Trail in Ballarat

Sturt Street, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.Sturt Street is Ballarat's main thoroughfare and much of its original architecture remains, with prime corner sites reserved for churches and public buildings.

Some of the buildings of note include the impressive Town Hall (1859), the Ballarat Mechanics Institute (1859) and the old Post Office Building (1864).

The street is also lined with historic monuments and statues.

Boer War Memorial
This poignant memorial commemorates the soldiers who took part in the Boer War in South Africa between 1899 and 1902. The construction of the bronze statue was approved in 1900 and the foundation stone laid a year later. The statue was relocated to the present site and unveiled by Governor General Baron Northcote in November 1906.

There is a booklet available through Ballarat Regional Tourism titled "Ballarat Heritage Walking Trails" and in this booklet is a section on the Sturt Street Statue Walking Trail. It is well worth getting hold of a copy.  Most of the information written here about each of the monuments or statues came directly from that booklet.

special thanks to Phillip Hunting who brought the history to life as he acted out the accounts of a 15th Brigade soldier in front of the Pompey Elliot Statue as part of the Military History Tour of Ballarat held by the "Friends of the Shrine of Remembrance" last week.

One the monuments
and memorials along Sturt Street recognises a senior First World War leader who commanded the 7th Battalion at Gallipoli and the 15th Brigade at the Western Front.

Harold 'Pompey' Elliott attended Ballarat College (now Ballarat and Clarendon College) from 1885 and shortly after began military service.

Former Australian Defence Force General Peter Cosgrove helped unveil the statue created by artist Louis Laumen in May 2011.

Sir Albert Coates
This memorial tells the tale of Sir Albert Coates and provides an excellent example of contemporary statuary and commemorates Albert Coates, a doctor who was a Prisoner of War of the Japanese during World War Two.

He became a prisoner of the Japanese and in May 1942 was sent to Burma. Conditions were deplorable, the treatment brutal, and the death rate enormous. In 1944 he became responsible for a major prisoners’ hospital in Thailand.

After the war Coates returned to Melbourne and resumed his distinguished medical career. In 1953 he was made a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and in 1955 received a knighthood.

Peter Lalor
The hero of Eureka

In Sturt Street, between St Andrew's Kirk and St Patrick's Cathedral stands an impressive monument, fashioned in pink granite and bronze. The figure of Peter Lalor is mounted high in the air looking to the east to the diggings where the stockade was located. If he could open his eyes today he would see the huge mast and flag above the Eureka Interpretive Centre. He is dressed in his Speaker's wig and parliamentary robes which cover the stump of his missing arm.

The bronze relief tablets mounted around the base tell the Eureka story.

The south and north panels depict tableaus of Peter Lalor's life, a battle scene in the Eureka Stockade with the Eureka flag flying above and as a member of Parliament.

The western tablet is a memorial to the men (named) who were killed while fighting at The Eureka Stockade, December 3rd, 1854.

Memorial to Australian forces involved in these conflicts:
* Korean War 1950-53
* The Malayan Emergency 1950-60
* Borneo Uprising 1962-64
* Vietnam War 1962-72

A walk along Sturt Street is a great way to get a sense of the story of Ballarat with many good food or coffee shops along the way.

Sturt Street was named after a Police Magistrate who was the brother of explorer Charles Sturt.

The Queen Alexandra Bandstand
in the background and in the foreground,
the back of the statue of
Harold 'Pompey' Elliot

The Alexandra Bandstand is a typical and well resolved example of creative bandstand design; its polygonal form surmounted by a "Moorish" onion dome is representative of bandstands of this period. The bandstand has particularly fine wrought iron detailing incorporating musical motifs and is an important and exotic element of the streetscape of Sturt Street.

Built in 1908 during the heyday of the band movement, it is now one of the few remaining examples of bandstands in Victoria. It serves as a tangible reminder of a highly popular form of entertainment, prominent on the community agenda for many years. The construction of the bandstand and its survival until now also reflects the prominence of music in Ballarat's cultural and civic identity.

There are many more statue's and monuments to discover as you wander along Sturt Street in Ballarat. The above is just a small sample of what you will see!

Ballarat Regional Tourism

43 Lydiard St, Ballarat.

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