Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Former PM to unveil Ballarat bust

Former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull AC, will visit the Ballarat Botanical Gardens this week to unveil his bust on the famed Prime Ministers Avenue. 

Mr Turnbull will become the 29th Australian Prime Minister to have their bronze statue installed on the Avenue. 

The official unveiling ceremony will be held at 1.30pm on Friday 4 November, at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

The bronze bust is the work of Sydney-based sculptor Linda Klarfeld, who was previously commissioned for the Tony Abbott statue. 

City of Ballarat Mayor, Daniel Moloney, said he was thrilled to welcome Mr Turnbull to the city. 

“It will be an absolute honour to welcome Mr Turnbull to Ballarat for such a momentous occasion,” Mayor Moloney said. 

Former PM Malcolm Turnbull (file image).

“We’ve all been waiting with anticipation for this unveiling – it has certainly been a long time coming. 

“The Prime Ministers Avenue is an absolute highlight of Ballarat and something we truly cherish. 

“I can’t wait to see Mr Turnbull’s new addition.” 

Ms Klarfield, who will also be in Ballarat to attend the unveiling, said she was eager to finally have her piece on display, having started work in the early stages of the COVID pandemic. 

She said after making three different versions of the bust, it was the advice of her art teacher that helped her best capture the essence of Mr Turnbull. 

“My 91-year-old art teacher suggested I think about Mr Turnbull as a real person, father and husband and not just the politician or businessman,” she said. 

“So that’s what I did in the end, I wanted his children and grandchildren to be able to see him in the piece and to like it.” 

Ms Klarfield said she thought her sculpture might never see the light of the day, due to the COVID pandemic. 

“I wondered at the time if anyone would actually see the bust,” Ms Klarfield said. 

“So, I am glad now that we are able to have this unveiling at all and that we have something to celebrate and bring people together.” 

The Avenue was officially opened by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Winston Dugan on March 2, 1940, who unveiled the busts of the first six Prime Ministers of Australia.  

The first 12 busts in the Prime Ministers Avenue were a gift to the people of Ballarat from prominent local benefactor and Member of Parliament, Richard Armstrong Crouch, who left a further bequest to ensure the continuation of the Avenue after his death. 

City of Ballarat Council now takes responsibility for the collection by funding and maintaining the commissions. 

Bust commissions are generally completed once the Prime Minister has left office, a protocol followed by the Historical Memorials Collection in Canberra. The length of time between busts usually depends upon the availability of the sitter and the commissioning process.  

The City of Ballarat is currently compiling the design brief to secure the next artist to sculpt the bust of Scott Morrison, Australia’s 30th Prime Minister.  

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