Saturday, 12 May 2012


Baroness Yrsa Von Leister’s "The Phoenix", a winged figure reaches some three metres above the waters of a pond in Queen Victoria Gardens. Originally associated with ancient Egyptians’ longings for immortality, the phoenix in Christianity has long been linked to resurrection and everlasting life. Von Leister sculpted the symbolic figure for the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Melbourne following the 40th International Eucharistic Congress, held here in 1973.

Archbishop Cardinal Knox then donated the work to the Melbourne City Council for the support it had shown during the congress. Von Leister flew to Australia to complete finishing touches to the roughhewn sculpture prior to its unveiling. In March 1976, the Most Reverend T.F. Little gifted the sculpture to the citizens of Melbourne on behalf of the Melbourne Diocesan Historical Commission. He said, ‘The … phoenix is accepted throughout the world as symbolising everlasting life. It glorifies Him who is truth and eternal life.’ The statue’s plaque reads: ‘The Phoenix' - sculpted By Yrsa Von Leister - A gift to the City of Melbourne from the 40th International Eucharist Congress, Melbourne – February 1973’.

Paul Montford’s "Water Nymph" is one of the works purchased by funds allocated by Melbourne City Council’s Parks & Gardens Committee towards purchasing statues for its public gardens. This was an attempt to appease a dissatisfied and vocal public, which had criticised council for the poor state of the pieces located in Fitzroy Gardens.

The "Water Nymph" is a bronze statue of a young woman, with raised arms stroking her hair. She kneels on a round base, which is set in an ornamental lake. This is a classic image of the period. The nymph is linked to age-old representations of the mermaid and the siren, which symbolise female sexuality. It is perhaps of no surprise to find a sculpture of a nymph at a time when the rise of the ‘flapper’ signalled a loosening of sexual mores. Water Nymph was unveiled in September 1925.

This post is part of James' Weekend Reflections meme.


  1. Very good pictures, I especially like the second one.

  2. Love the leaves in the pool photo. Very nicely done. looks like a great place to take a walk!

  3. Such a lovely place to walk and a delightful sculpture! I always enjoy the history/information about your photos that you include, Nick, it does add to the beauty! Hope you're enjoying a great weekend!


  4. This looks like a lovely place to visit! Very nice shots! Love the 3rd one!

  5. How very beautiful an oasis. Looks as if autumn is closing in. Please have a good Sunday.

  6. I love a nice sculpture garden. :)

  7. Another lovely one Nick! I think your city has so much beauty.

  8. Calm and brooding scenes. I observe that the citizens and the administrators are interested in improves the place.
    Thanks for sharing.


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