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General Charles Gordon
General Charles Gordon

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

Statue commemorates General Charles Gordon, hero of Khartoum, Sudan, and depicting relief scenes from his life.

Major-General Charles Gordon, that very unusual British officer who died as Khartoum fell to the forces of the messianic Islamic leader, Mohammed Ahmed, the Mahdi, on 26 January 1885. Melbourne`s grief was intense. The public appeal to pay for the statue was so over-subscribed that enough remained to build a boys` home

The bronze statue depicts Gordon holding his cane and Bible. In heroic style, the general stands over a shattered cannon, presumably to symbolise his ultimate triumph over the trials and tribulations of military victory and defeat.

Four bronze bas-reliefs feature on the limestone base, each depicting one of four key stages in Gordon’s life: his victories in China, his charitable activities in Gravesend, his governorship in Sudan and his death in Khartoum. 

Gordon, the ‘Great Christian General’, was one of the most popular Englishmen of his day, and his reputation was forged on the battlefield and through his Christian activities at Gravesend. During his appointment as secretary to the viceroy of India in 1880, Gordon became unpopular with the government of the day for passionately campaigning for native rule in countries such as Botswana, South Africa and Ireland. Gordon met his death 1885, when as governor-general of the Sudan he refused to evacuate Egyptian forces from Khartoum, believing this to be unsafe.

Gordon’s death was mourned throughout the British Empire. So great was the Australian public’s response that a fund to produce a copy of Thornycroft’s London monument for Melbourne was heavily oversubscribed. Perhaps due to oversubscription, Thornycroft produced the four reliefs for the limestone base, which are not found on the London statue. Although Gordon did not set foot on Australian soil, the monument is of great historical importance; his death prompted the dispatch of the first Australian troops overseas, a regiment from New South Wales


Address:Spring & Macarthur Streets, Gordon Reserve, East Melbourne, 3002
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.812727
Long: 144.973943
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Monument Designer:Hamo Thornycroft


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1889
Front Inscription

Erected by the people of Victoria to honour the memory of Charles George Gordon Major-Gen Royal Engineers who fell at Khartoum January 26-1885
"I Have Tried To Do My Duty"

"This is the happy warrior - this is he
That every man in arms should wish to be."

(lower inscription) 
Gravesend 1865-71
" He sought for little children, to feed and clothe and train."

Left Side Inscription

Soudan 1874-80 "He sought to save the lost, and bid the oppressed go free"

Back Inscription

"warrior of God, man`s friend, not laid below. But somewhere dead far in the waste Soudan, thou livest in all hearts, for all men know, this earth hath borne no simpler, noble man."

(lower inscription)

Khartoum 1885 "He would not desert those dependent on him while life remained"

Right Side Inscription

China 1963-4 "He rescued provinces from anarchy but would accept no reward"

Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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