Melbourne public art

…fall in love with the city

Public Purse

Public Purse - Public Art



It looks amazingly real, except for the size of it.

What makes it even more interesting is the fact that it is bang in middle of Melbourne’s shopping street – the Bourke Street Mall.

In January 1994, the City of Melbourne called for design submissions for unique and distinctive forms of street seating. Simon Perry’s The Public Purse was one of the works selected. This piece was commissioned as part of council’s Percent for Art Program, in which one per cent of council’s capital works budget went towards funding public artworks, with the goal of integrating public art into the design and development of the city.

In creating The Public Purse, Perry was interested making an object that would work both conceptually and poetically, while still addressing the context of the site. The Public Purse engages with its environment through its clear reference to the commercial nature of the area. Perry says of this red-granite sculpture that it ‘signifies an interaction between the city and citizens, the public and the private’. Looking like nothing less than an oversized dropped purse, this public seating can be located anywhere in the retail district without ever looking out of place. It is made out of Calca red granite and stainless-steel.

Artist / Sculptor

Simon Perry is a highly awarded and publicly recognised visual artist and academic and was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome and the Royal Academy Gold Medal for Sculpture. Perry has a particular interest in Art in Public Space. Simon Perry studied art in England now lectures in Sculpture and Art in Public Place at RMIT.



Where can I find it?

Bourke Street Mall, right in front of the GPO

May 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three businessmen who bought their own lunch

Three Businessmen Melbourne Public Art


The sculptors named the three businessmen after leading figures who established the city of Melbourne – Swanston (Charles) a prominent businessman and banker in Melbourne, Batman (John) who founded the first settlement in Melbourne and Hoodle (Charles), who designed the layout of the CBD of Melbourne, now called Hoodle Grid. 

I guess the sculptors were trying to convey that the pioneers are watching over the growth and progress of the city. The figures however blend in and seem like they are normal people, day dreaming while waiting for the pedestrian signal to turn green. They also remind one of the weary office crowd going home after a hard days work

Artist Alison Weaver claims that while the men are named and motionless, they are also intended to be anonymous and to represent being ‘trapped in the perpetual motion of consumerism’; strategically placed near a busy shopping area.

It is said that the free hands of the figures are regularly cleaned and polished as the public holds hands with them – for photo ops or for fun. The sculpture is made out of metal.

Interestingly the Sculpture was gifted by the Government of Nauru to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the City of Melbourne. Nauru is an oval shaped island in the Western Pacific Ocean. They apparently are making a lot of money taking in refugees that seek Asylum in Australia. (I can’t confirm this though….)

Artists / Sculptors

The sculptors are Alison Waver and Paul Quinn. Both are Australian artists with various works and commissions to their credit


April 1994

Where can I find it?

Corner of Swanston and Bourke Streets

May 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment



Angel sculpture in Melbourne


‘Angel’ was created by Melbourne based Sculptor, Ceramic and Mosaic artist, Deborah Halpern. It stands about 10 metres tall and took about 3 years to complete. It is one of the most important landmarks of Melbourne since its installation in 1989.

The Sculpture is made out of Steel Armature (the skeleton) and ceramic tiles as skin. Angel consists of a total of 16 images. The symbolism was that of representing different life forms including a crocodile, fish, angels, birds, plants, scrolls and fantasy creatures.

Artist / Sculptor

Deborah Halpern and  Team



Where can I find it?

In the Birrarung Marr park near Federation Square, Melbourne

May 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment