No rest for Burke and Wills

It seems there is no rest for Burke and Wills, with the statue of the ill-fated explorers likely to be moved again due to the construction of Melbourne Metro Rail.

The pair died in 1861 after leading an expedition from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria and dying in the outback on their homeward journey.

After many moves around Melbourne, the monument was placed in its current location on the corner of Swanston and Collins streets in 1994.

With the acquisition of the City Square as a works site for the duration of the metro construction, the statue is likely to be moved again.

In the Metro Rail Authority’s (MMRA) environment effects statement (EES), the authority commits to consulting widely before taking such action.

“In the event the permanent relocation of the Burke and Wills Monument from its current site is required, resolve the final location of the monument to the satisfaction of the appropriate responsible authority and/or in consultation with the City of Melbourne prior to the commencement of construction,” the EES says.

Designed by Charles Summers and costing £14,000, the monument was unveiled on April 21, 1865.

Originally on the corner of Collins and Russell streets, the growth of traffic and the laying of tram tracks led to the removal of the monument in 1886. It was placed in a reserve in Spring St, opposite Parliament House on the corners of Spring, Lonsdale and Nicholson streets.

It was moved to Carlton Gardens in 1973 when Parliament Station was constructed, and then moved again to the corner of Swanston and Collins in the City Square in 1979 and a fountain was added.

The statue was restored and moved to its present location at the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets in 1994.

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