This sculpture, commissioned in 2011 and located behind Old Parliament House, about 200 metres from the National Archives building in Parkes, recreates – at the same location and with an amazing likeness – a 1945 photo (below) of John Curtin, Australia’s fourteenth Prime Minister (1941-45), and Treasurer Joseph Benedict (Ben) Chifley, who shortly thereafter became Australia’s sixteenth Prime Minister (1945-49). Curtin actually died in office in 1945 and was replaced by Francis Forde who held office for eight days (Australia’s shortest serving Prime Minister) before handing over to the new Labor leader, Chifley.
Curtin and Chifley regularly walked along this route to (Old) Parliament House from the nearby Kurrajong Hotel – where Labor Members of Parliament generally stayed, while Parliament was sitting.
John Curtin was Australia’s wartime Prime Minister and held office when the Australian mainland (Darwin) came under direct Japanese military attack in World War Two. He, and Chifley, also popped into the Niagara Cafe in Gundagai for midnight munchies! See separate review on the cafe for more details on that.
Ben Chifley was responsible for the post-war immigration scheme, the establishment of Australian citizenship in 1949, the Snowy Mountains Scheme, overseeing the creation of Qantas and Trans Australia Airways (TAA), and founding the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
This magnificent sculpture was created by Australian sculptor Peter Corlett, known for his representations of Edward “Weary” Dunlop, Simpson with his donkey at the Australian War Memorial and John Gale, “Father of Canberra” in Queanbeyan.
Well worth a look.
Address: Walpole Crescent, Barton
Directions: Behind Old Parliament House and about 200 metres to the right (if your facing the Lake) of the National Archives building.