Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Certain Friend in an Uncertain Event

What is now Macarthur Central at the corner of Queen Street and Edward Street was formerly the AMP Building. The AMP Society was formed in Sydney in 1848/49, and was one of a number of benefit and friendly societies established in the Australian colonies from the mid to late 19th century. Effectively, they were insurance agents. In 1931-34 the AMP Building was erected at this site.

The statues above the main entrance in Queen Street were carved by Fred Gowan of Sydney from Sicilian marble. This represented the emblem of the AMP. The tableau illustrates the AMP Society's motto "Amicus certus in re incerta" - "A certain friend in an uncertain event" or alternatively "A sure friend in uncertain times". It depicts an erect female figure, with a cornucopia by her right side, holding the palm of victory in her left hand. To her left is a seated woman and child; to her right a seated male. It has also been suggested that the figures represent Strength, Plenty, Production and Growth. Although AMP is no longer in the building, the tableau has remained in all its glory.

I love how I stumble across these symbols as I walk through the city centre now. I have walked past this site many times, but before this year had not stopped to consider what these figures were, nor what they represented. I'm growing to like my new found appreciation for the city and what it holds: its ties to the past and its position for the future. All these things are represented within this one group, and I'm glad it remained on the building.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

Click Here for the Google Map Reference for this post.

No comments: