Prime Ministers Avenue
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. It attracts thousands of visitors annually.
The 27th Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was the last to be added to the Avenue. She publicly unveiled her bust on 9 October 2014, making her only the second Prime Minister to unveil their own bust.
Uncertain future – lack of funding
With the cost of each bust ranging from $45000 to $65000, historic bequeathed funds for the construction of busts for future Prime Ministers ran out after Julia Gillard's bust, possibly the last to be made. The future of the project is uncertain. Council has repeatedly lobbied the federal government for funding in perpetuity and in addition has called for expressions of interest from sculptors.
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 now-used 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".
- Wallace Anderson (1888–1975): born at Dean near Ballarat, and is best known for his work "Simpson and His Donkey" located at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance. Anderson created the busts of Barton, Deakin, Watson, Reid, Fisher, Cook, Hughes, Bruce, Scullin, Lyons, Page, Menzies, Fadden and Curtin.
- 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.
- Peter Nicholson: born in 1946 in Melbourne; best known for his cartoons in the Nation Review, Financial Review and The Age. Nicholson's works are (in chronological order) Hawke, Fraser, Keating, Howard, Rudd and Gillard. Nicholson's works have followed his philosophy that the busts should impart an expression of the character of the individual.
The creator of Forde's bust is unknown.
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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prime Minister's Avenue.|
- No Bronze Statue Yet For PM Tony Abbott As Ballarat Runs Out Of Funds For Botanical Garden Bust: International Business Times 10 October 2014
- Ballarat Council offers $30,000 for Tony Abbott's head: Power FM Ballarat
- PM bust funds under pressure: The Courier 15 September 2015
- Anderson, William Wallace – Australia Dictionary of Biography
- Nicholson Cartoons – Portrait Gallery
- Page 24, Boom Boom - Travel Domestic: probussouthpacific.org