Thursday, March 1, 2007

Robert Burns' Statue

At the request of a Scottish colleague, I ventured up to Centenary Place. Bounded by Ann, Boundary, Wickham and Gotha Street, the park is at the North-Eastern edge of the City. The reason for this was to investigate the large statue of Robert Burns, the world famous Scottish Poet and lyricist. He wanted to know when and why it was placed there. The statue itself is nearly 80 years old, and was erected by the Burns Club in 1929.

In her work, Civilising the City: Literary Societies and Clubs in Brisbane during the 1880s and 1890s, Leanne Day writes of the establishment and activities of the Scottish Societies in Brisbane. The Brisbane Burns Club was a men’s club. The general aim was to provide a facility for Scottish people to come together to enjoy, and importantly, to share their culture with the wider community. In her paper she notes: In 1888, the President of the Brisbane Burns Club, Alderman Galloway, contacted the President of the Queensland Scottish Association, Sir Thomas McIlwraith, to suggest their organisations combine forces (and funds) to erect a statue of Robert Burns in Brisbane... It was not until 1929 that the statue was finally erected in Centenary
Place and was dedicated to Brisbane by the Burns Club.

Not only does the pedestal hold the immortal bard, but also images of his life are etched into it as well. Unfortunately, some undesirables have currently graffitied the base, which hopefully will be cleaned up soon. The Scottish Clans of Brisbane have recently had their Burns' Nights. Burns' Night is celebrated on 25 January with Burns' Suppers around the world. I hope they had an enjoyable time!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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