Marble bust with granite pedestal
Queen Victoria Gardens
This marble bust of Farnex Hercules is a replica of Farnese Hercules, held by the Vatican Museum, Rome. With his imposing shoulders, Hercules is represented as the classical powerful hero. Half god and half human, he was the most famous hero of ancient times and the most loved. He was born of an illicit affair between Zeus and a mortal woman, Alcmene, and this union brought tremendous hardship to Hercules at the hand of Hera, wife of Zeus and Queen of the Gods. Hercules' story is one of strength, courage and prodigious deeds. Because he endured all hardships visited upon him, at his death he was taken to Mt Olympus to live with the gods.
Farnex Hercules was donated to the city by well-known solicitor, politician, newspaper proprietor and educationalist Theodore Fink. He acquired the bust and a replica of the Belvedere Apollo as gifts to the people of Melbourne, when visiting Rome; the works were unveiled in 1928. Fink's donation marked the end of a tradition of placing copies of classical statuary in Melbourne's public gardens, a tradition that took root in the 1860s. Most were removed by the 1930s.