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Pioneer Women's Memorial

Hugh Linaker
Memorial garden with bronze statue
Kings Domain

Hugh Linaker's memorial garden is set in a circular depression, with a high wall of rough masonry covering the cutting at its southern end. This formal, symmetrical garden is traversed by a watercourse in the shape of a cross, which flows into a grotto carved into the cutting. Built into the grotto is a half-cupola lined with blue tiles, under which stands the small bronze statue of a woman by the sculptor Charles Web Gilbert. The garden was built by the Public Works Department.

In 1933, the Victorian government formed an all-male Centenary Celebrations Council in preparation for Melbourne's centenary the following year. The Women's Centenary Council was formed in an attempt to give the women of the state an influential role in the celebrations. At its first meeting, this council pledged to erect a suitable memorial to Victoria's pioneer women, and fundraising initiatives were established with the aim of developing a garden of remembrance in Kings Domain. The council's initiatives included the sale of a commemorative book and 'sheets of remembrance' onto which anyone, for one shilling, could inscribe their own name, or that of an ancestor. This was very successful and thousands of names were gathered and then buried beneath the sundial in the garden. The work was carried out under the auspices of the Unemployment Relief Program during the Depression.

Victorian premier Thomas Argyle dedicated the garden in November 1934, and in June 1935, Lady Huntingfield and the president of Women's Centenary Council, Mrs I.H. Moss, unveiled two bronze plaques.

City Of Melbourne