Prime Ministers Avenue

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The Prime Ministers Avenue is a collection of busts of the Prime Ministers of Australia, located at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens in Ballarat, Victoria. The busts are displayed as bronze portraits mounted on polished granite pedestals. The 26th Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, is the latest to be added. The 27th Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, sat for Peter Nicholson's measurements and images in January 2012,[1][2] with the final version delivered on 11 July 2012, and foundations of a granite pedestal installed in the gardens in October 2012. It has not yet been unveiled as Gillard is yet to commit to a time, though of the past five Prime Ministers, only John Howard has been present at the unveiling. The Liberal-leaning Council denies the bust is being withheld for political reasons.[3][4][5] A preview is available.[6][7][8]

History[edit]

Richard Crouch, the original donor of the first six busts, was born in Ballarat in 1868. He was MP for Corio representing the Protectionist Party 1901–1909 and the Commonwealth Liberal Party 1909–1910, and was at the time the youngest member of the House of Representatives. He also served as MP for Corangamite under the Labor Party 1929–1931.

The first six busts were unveiled on 2 March 1940 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Winston Dugan. Crouch also bequeathed funds for maintaining the project. It is claimed that Crouch's motivation for the collection was "his patronage and love of fine arts which he supported and endowed in many other ways and the influence of two parliamentary terms under the statesmen Barton, Deakin, Watson, Fisher and Scullin prompted him to return to Ballarat something of what it had given him".

Sculptors[edit]

  • Ken Palmer: born in 1925 at Ballarat, created the bust of Chifley during his election campaign in 1946.
  • Victor Greenhalgh (1900–1983): born at Ballarat, and is best known for his large statue of King George V which dominates the Sturt Street plantation. Greenhalgh created the busts of Holt, McEwen, Gorton, McMahon and Whitlam.

The creator of Forde's bust is unknown.

Criticisms[edit]

Fraser's bust was originally created by Victor Greenhalgh. However, Greenhalgh and others were critical of the final casting. Following Greenhalgh's death in 1983, Peter Nicholson was asked to create a new bust for Fraser, which was completed after the bust of Fraser's successor Hawke had been installed.

Nicholson believes that John Howard was dissatisfied with the size of his lower lip,[10] and it is said that Paul Keating was unhappy with his bust's weak chin and pointy nose.[11]

Busts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 37°32′53″S 143°49′16″E / 37.54806°S 143.82111°E / -37.54806; 143.82111