Heritage is about the things from the past which
are valued enough today to save for tomorrow.

Alexander Forrest Statue

The Alexander Forrest Statue represents its subject in exploration costume, since he and his brother, Sir John Forrest, were the first white colonists to enter many areas of Western Australia. The sculptor was Pietro Porcelli, originally from Naples, and even though he had never met Alexander Forrest, friends of the former mayor said it was a great likeness.

The figure was first built in the nude out of Guildford clay, and then draped. It was subsequently modelled in plaster of Paris, and then sent to Italy for casting in wax and subsequently in bronze. The statue is more than ten metres high, and was placed on a pedestal of Donnybrook stone, making it more than three metres from the ground. It was not only the largest statue produced in Western Australia at that time, it was also the first such to commemorate a local person.

Alexander Forrest (1849-1901) was a surveyor who made two transcontinental expeditions with his brother in 1874, as well as exploring the Kimberley region. He was the first member of the Legislative Council for Kimberley, and twice Mayor of Perth. After his death in 1901, his friends and admirers thought that it would be fitting to commemorate his memory with a statue.

Originally placed on the corner of Mount Street and St George’s Terrace, the statue was relocated in 1916 to the entrance of Government Gardens (now Stirling Gardens) to give it a more prominent location. It has now remained there for more than a century, overlooking the Treasury Buildings and passing traffic.

Detailed Description

The Alexander Forrest Statue represents its subject in exploration costume, since he and his brother, Sir John Forrest, were the first white colonists to enter many areas of Western Australia. The sculptor was Pietro Porcelli, originally from Naples, and even though he had never met Alexander Forrest, friends of the former mayor said it was a great likeness.

The figure was first built in the nude out of Guildford clay, and then draped. It was subsequently modelled in plaster of Paris, and then sent to Italy for casting in wax and subsequently in bronze. The statue is more than ten metres high, and was placed on a pedestal of Donnybrook stone, making it more than three metres from the ground. It was not only the largest statue produced in Western Australia at that time, it was also the first such to commemorate a local person.

Alexander Forrest (1849-1901), a surveyor, was second-in command to his elder brother, John on his first transcontinental expedition in 1870 and again in 1874. In 1879, Alexander Forrest undertook a six-month exploration of the Kimberley, during which he mapped the Fitzroy River and various large streams, as well as around 20 million acres of good, well-watered land, the fertile district of the west Kimberley.

He was the first member of the Legislative Council for Kimberley (1887), and when Western Australia achieved Responsible Government in 1890, he was elected MLA for West Kimberley, and served in this capacity until his death in 1901. In March 1891, he represented Western Australia at the Federal Convention in Sydney. He was also Mayor of Perth (1892-95, and 1898-1900). In recognition of the latter services, he was made a CMG (Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George) in May 1901.

On 20 June 1901, Alexander Forrest died after a short illness. Following his death, many of his friends and admirers thought that it would be fitting to commemorate his memory. Various proposals were made before it was decided in deference to the wishes of his brother, Sir John Forrest, that this should take the form of a public monument. A Memorial Committee was appointed to carry out the project and to raise funds through public subscription.

Originally placed on the corner of Mount Street and St Georges Terrace, the statue was relocated in 1916 to the entrance of Government Gardens (now Stirling Gardens) to give it a
more prominent location. It has remained there for more than a century, overlooking the Treasury Buildings and passing traffic.

On the northwest face there is a red granite tablet with an inscription that reads:
THIS MONUMENT
WAS ERECTED BY HIS FRIENDS
IN MEMORY OF
ALEXANDER FORREST
C.M.G. M.L.A. J.P.
BORN NEAR BUNBURY 20TH SEPTEMBER 1849
DIED AT PERTH 20 JUNE 1901
AGED 51 YEARS
HE WAS THE FIRST EXPLORER OF
THE KIMBERLEY DISTRICTOF NORTH WEST AUSTRALIA
AND REPRESENTED THE DISTRICT IN PARLIAMENT
FOR 14 YEARS TO THE TIME OF HIS DEATH.
HE WAS SECOND IN COMMAND OF THE
EXPLORATION EXPEDITION FROM PERTH TO ADELAIDE
1870 AND 1874
HE WAS MAYOR OF THE CITY FOR SIX YEARS
FROM 1892-1895 AND FROM 1897-1900.
HE WAS THE GENEROUS FRIEND OF MANY

Location