Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, Parkville
(Melway ref. 29 XX)
This statue was commissioned by Alderman Charles Jeffries in 1926 to commemorate his 31 years as councillor for the City of Melbourne. Chair of the Parks & Gardens Committee for many years, Alderman Jeffries wanted a sculpture placed in the Alexandra Gardens that would have particular appeal to children. Renowned sculptor Paul Montford thus created an Australian version of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan to meet this brief. A bush bird sits on the young boy's shoulder and native animals are at his feet.
Lord Mayor Morrell unveiled the statue in 1926. It was moved some time later to the conservatory in the Fitzroy Gardens, where the climatic conditions were less than ideal. In 1989, it was placed in storage to await both conservation and a decision on its new home. Jeff Gill, the Alderman's grandson, was instrumental in having the statue returned to a public site, and since 1993 it has been located at Melbourne's zoo, where just as Alderman Jeffries envisaged it enjoys the attention of children.