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Man With The Donkey (aka Private John Simpson and his Little Donkey)

Wallace Anderson
Cast bronze statue on granite pedestal
West forecourt, Shrine of Remembrance

Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick's intrepid and short-lived exploits during the Gallipoli campaign have made him a popular figure of World War I. He has been mythologised to represent the lauded values of the Digger, and he symbolises all those who went into battle unarmed. Born in England in 1892, he came to Australia in 1910. He enlisted to make his way back to England, but as a member of the 3rd Field Ambulance AIA was sent to Gallipoli. After just three weeks of bearing wounded soldiers across Shrapnel Gully on the back of his donkey, Simpson was killed by shrapnel fire.

Simpson's story and became a powerful propaganda tool for enlistment in Australia, but following the war he was quickly forgotten. With the Shrine of Remembrance nearing completion in 1933, the memory of Simpson was rekindled to commemorate all who gave their lives to help others during the war. One plaque reads: 'The/ Man with his donkey/ Gallipoli ... / In commemoration/ of the valour and compassion /of the Australian soldier'.

In 1935, Wallace Anderson's design for the memorial was selected though a competition organised by the Australian Red Cross. Anderson had served during the war and worked at the Australian War Memorial after his return. His Man with the Donkey was cast in Italy, and after some debate was sited near the shrine.

City Of Melbourne