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04-January-2015
04-January-2015

Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

A statue commemorates James Fletcher, the Chairman of the first district miner's union and member of the new South Wales Legislative Assembly. 

Fletcher (1834-1891) was chairman of the first district miner`s union in 1861, a founder of the Newcastle Morning Herald in 1876 and a Member of the Legislative Assembly from 1880-91, during which time he served both as minister of mines and of public works. He was known as a friend to the miners and was held in sufficient esteem to occasion the erection of the park`s statue in 1897 by public subscription.

One of the most interesting ceremonies that has taken place in Newcastle for many years occurred on Saturday afternoon in the Lower Reserve, viz., the unveiling of a statue to the memory of the late Mr. James Fletcher, for many years the representative of Newcastle in Parliament. A procession comprising the greater portion of the Newcastle branch of the League of Wheelmen arrived on the ground shortly after 3 o'clock at which time an immense concourse had assembled. The proceedings were presided over by the Mayor of Newcastle, who had an enthusiastic reception when rising. He spoke of the pleasure he felt at presiding it a function which was to do honour to an old friend of 40 years standing.

It may be mentioned that the contract for supplying the statue was undertaken by Mr G.P. Loch monumental mason, of Newcastle. It was executed in Italy, and is a most striking piece of sculpture. The lineaments of the deceased gentleman are immediately recognised, and are full of life. The statue stands on a plinth of polished Ben Cruachan granite, and is of pure Carrara marble.  The whole structure is 17ft in height, the statue itself being about 6ft 6in. It possesses the unique fact of being the only statue yet erected to any public man in the northern district. 
The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), 12 April 1897.

Location

Address:Watt Street, Fletcher Park, Newcastle, 2300
State:NSW
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.930833
Long: 151.783333
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Colonial
Monument Manufacturer:Mr G.P. Loch (Monument Mason-Contractor)
Link:http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/adbonli…

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 10th April, 1897
Front Inscription

JAMES FLETCHER

(Plaque)

JAMES FLETCHER M.L.A.
1834 - 1891
Historical
Point No 17
       
THIS STATUE WAS ERECTED IN
1897 BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION TO COMMEMORATE 
JAMES FLETCHER AS A FRIEND OF THE MINERS. HE WAS : -
CHAIRMAN OF THE FIRST DISTRICT MINERS'
UNION. 1861; MANAGER OF THE COOPERATIVE
COAL MINE AT PLATTSBURG; A FOUNDER OF 
THE 'NEWCASTLE MORNING HERALD' IN 1876. 
M.L.A.FOR NEWCASTLE 1880 -1891;
N.S.W.MINISTER FOR MINES, 1886;
N.S.W.MINISTER FOR PUBLIC WORKS, 1889. 

Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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